Feeling Alone

July 30, 2014

Ever feel alone?

I find, especially when I am in the heat of a trial, I do. I think that I am the only person who has to endure this problem.

Beware the Enemy’s tactics that isolate, divide and conquer, and breed defeat.

When I was a young mother with a baby and toddlers, I knew of other women whose husbands stayed home two weeks after their child was born. Mine didn’t. He went to school or work the day after the birth. The Enemy planted seeds of isolation in my mind, in spite of my mother-in-law’s help.

I read books telling of women settling the West. They gave birth and managed the farm while their husband hunted for their survival. Then I would not feel so alone. Others had lived to journal about it. I found strength through their victory.

Sometimes the Enemy wishes me to wallow in that aloneness when my husband must be gone for long days, for long nights, for a year of deployment several times.

Whenever that ‘aloneness’ crept over me, I remembered the Enemy wished to divide and conquer our relationship. My husband and I minister together. I create a haven at home for him to anchor his heart. He shows the world Christ. He can leave because I support him. I can support him because I know that his heart is here with me. The ministry continues. The Enemy is defeated.

At times, I’m tempted to tell him, “Stay home. Don’t go. Quit the Army.” But just as quickly, I realize his ministry gives him purpose. Without it, the home would no longer be a haven for his heart to rest; it would confine his spirit in a cage. I swallow my words, because I know what compels my husband, what motivates him, what drives him. And I also know God gives me the grace to do my ministry, which is to make our house a home.

If he were to stay at home when he should be involved in the ministry God has given him, he would be like David when he stayed from warring with his men. He would be idle. Something else would fill his time—something not God-given.

 Look at Elijah. The land of Israel had no rain. The famine came. Elijah told King Ahab to prepare an altar and call to Baal for his blessing.

After waiting an entire day, watching the priests shout, slash themselves with spears and beg for Baal to listen, Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord. He poured twelve barrels of water over the altar, its wood, and the bull. Water filled the trench surrounding the altar.

Then Elijah prayed.

Fire of the Lord consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil and the water in the trench.

The people worshiped, “The Lord is indeed God.”

Elijah demanded the priests of Baal to be slaughtered.

King Ahab quickly demanded, “Where’s the rain?” (Victory doesn’t last long. Elijah is quickly reminded of the famine.)

Elijah, with confidence in his God, commanded the king: “Eat and drink for rain is heard.”

Then Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and put his face between his knees.

His servant looked toward the sea six times reporting to Elijah that there was nothing. The seventh time he said, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

Elijah warned King Ahab that his chariot must hurry to his palace before the rains came.

Elijah was doing God’s Work, God’s Way. He just experienced a miracle--two, the fire accepting the sacrifice and the rain sent by God.

Now Queen Jezebel wasn’t happy with Elijah killing her Baal-worshipping priests. She issued a death-warrant for Elijah.

Elijah runs.

Elijah succumbs to say, “Take my life; I’m no better than my ancestors.” Then sleeps.

Beware of aloneness when you’re tired, weary and burdened.

I’d get angry at my child’s refusal to sleep after rocking him so long. I’d want to scream at him. Within minutes of wanting to scream, he’d be asleep. Couldn’t I wait 5 more minutes?

When you’re tired, you feel alone--so sleep. Motherhood is a hard, physical job when the children are young. I never could get enough sleep. I never slept through an entire night from when I was pregnant with our first born till our seventh finally could sleep through the night at age three. (That’s about 18 years!) Tiredness opens the door to feeling alone.

Notice what happened after Elijah slept: an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He did.

Many times we are just too tired and too weak to think properly. God gave his prophet sleep.
He gives His own sleep. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Aloneness comes when we are tired, weak and perhaps doing things that God doesn’t want us to do. His yoke is easy. If the task is too heavy or too burdened, maybe the task isn’t for you to do.
If you are feeling God left you to carry too much, maybe you should see if the task is something God even wants you to touch.
That ‘aloneness’ is not from the Enemy but from your Friend Who carries the burden that He gives you, not the burden you put on yourself. Give Him your burden and don’t take it back.

Let’s look again at Elijah’s complaints to God when God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Why was he hiding in a cave sleeping?

Elijah replied, “I have been zealous for the Lord. The Israelites rejected You, broke Your altars, killed your prophets. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me.”

(Did the Lord acknowledge Elijah’s aloneness? Did He sympathize with his feelings?)
Then the Lord said, “Stand on the mountain in My presence.” (Can you be alone, in God’s presence?)

Elijah stood in the opening of the cave.

A great wind tore the mountain apart and shattered rocks before Elijah’s presence, but The Lord was not in the wind.

A great earthquake split the ground under Elijah. But the Lord was not in the earthquake.

A fire consumed all that lived around Elijah. But the Lord was not in the fire.

Was Elijah ready to acknowledge God?
Elijah heard the gentle whisper of the Lord. He pulled his cloak over his face.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah had his response memorized; he had convinced himself of its truth. “I have been zealous for You. The Israelites have rejected You, broken Your altars, put Your prophets to death. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me, too.” (Sounds like a repeat of before? Yes, he hadn’t stopped feeling sorry for himself.)

Elijah’s aloneness consumed him so that he couldn’t even acknowledge he was in God’s presence. He was still standing, speaking to the Lord Almighty.
He hadn’t fallen on his face before God.
He thought his burden, his job was so important that God couldn’t do without him. He didn’t realize he had forgotten his dependence upon God for His ministry.

His aloneness was self-imposed. He wasn’t looking to God to carry his burdens. His job was right, but he was carrying it alone.

The Lord told him, “Go back to anoint Hazael king over Aram. Anoint Jehu over Israel. Anoint Elisha to succeed you as prophet.

Yet…Yet I reserve 7,000 in Israe—all whose knees have not bowed to Baal.”

Elijah had 7,000 people believing as he did. He had others to continue what he had started. He was not alone. He felt alone because he carried his burden. It was the right burden, but he didn’t allow God to carry it for him.
God took it away and gave it to another—Elisha.

Beware when God’s burden becomes your burden. If you carry it without dependence upon Him, the burden will be too heavy.

Aloneness can be the Enemy’s way of bringing discouragement, your body’s way of telling you to rest, your Friend’s way to prod you to give the burden to Him. Check, when you feel alone. His promise remains true since the day He said it, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Elijah’s story is found in I Kings 18:1-19:18

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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