It’s a scary word. I don’t know anyone who, when being honest, doesn’t fear this word. It’s calculating. Cold. Indicting.
It’s difficult to not believe there’s a judgment associated with being alone. After all, it’s how they punish the worst criminals.
It’s easy to believe that those who are not alone did something right that you got wrong. You failed the acceptance test. You didn’t make the grade.
It mocks the sensibilities of value and worth. It plays riddles with the human need to be known and loved. It is a cruel jester to all who seek belonging.
Alone. Nobody wants to be alone.
One is an odd number. Nobody wants to be the only one.
I remember the weird sensation I faced the day I saw everyone’s name huddled together in one category…and my name stood alone in another category. I was the only one. I was odd. I was alone.
Truth spoken long ago echoes daily through every human heart, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
The things we’ll do to avoid being alone. Endure ridicule, humiliation, control. Surrender convictions, callings, and passions. Being a nobody in the midst of many somebodies is preferred to being alone.
Yet there are times when we must take a stand, and go it alone.
Family talk last night centered around this topic. One of the boys has been a part of team system for many years where he has not been valued. His contribution has not been welcomed. His dignities have been insulted. Even though it’s been a dehumanizing experience, he has chosen to stay because he likes being a part of the group. Being a member of the whole has been meaningful to him. However, yesterday one of the other players quit—he quit the charade. He decided being alone and taking a stand for what is right is better than sitting on the bench with the other guys while the wrongs play on. My boy felt bad for him, “He’ll be alone now.”
I felt proud of the boy. It takes courage to stand alone. It takes courage to be your own person. I hope that his “aloneness” will be a temporary condition; but it’s better than sitting on the bench. There’s a game to be played—and he was made to play it…somewhere!
We all live in this tension that comes with being people created for community—we need to belong to the group, and yet also stand out as an individual created uniquely in the image of God. I face this tension regularly. For over a year I’ve prayed that I would have the courage to stand alone, if that’s what I need to do. It’s a risky prayer because the Scriptures show that God’s people often get called to do just that. Moses stood on the mountain alone. David wandered the hillsides alone for years. Esther stood in the court of the king alone. Paul sat alone for many years in prison. John was marooned alone to Patmos Island.
The confidence we have as believers is that if God is calling us to stand alone, we do so on God’s sovereignty with Him. There is really no such thing as “all alone” for the believer—there is always the community of the Trinity made available to us through Christ. In our aloneness, we still abide in Christ and He abides in us. In Him, we belong, we are loved, we are accepted—we are counted worthy. God doesn’t bench His players. He values every one.
Yesterday I had a beautiful conversation with a friend who is exploring adoption options. She was educating me about embryo adoptions, because “there are so many babies, frozen, waiting for their lives to begin.” I thought, “And God sees each one. He sees them all alone and He is setting them in families. To be loved, to be treasured, to be what they are created to be.” This is God’s heart for every person.
If you are feeling alone today or fearful because God is calling you to stand alone, remember His love for you. Let the power of His love demonstrated in Christ speak courage to your heart. You are not alone.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depths, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39