In my post Monday April 29th, you met a lone Joshua tree I observed in the desert, which ignited my imagination concerning loneliness. Loneliness, as social researcher, Brene’ Brown, reports is a malady during the times in which we live. 
If you, like me, have experienced times when you felt all alone, you may find comfort in the story of an Old Testament prophet, Elijah, who also grappled with loneliness.
The culture in which God placed the prophet to minister was wicked. It seemed the entire population had turned to worshiping the idol, Baal. Despite an amazing spiritual victory, Elijah became horribly despondent. His feelings of isolation deepened.
Last time I speculated that “God feels sad when we feel lonely.” Elijah’s story illustrates. Elijah was hiding alone in a cave when “the word of the Lord came to him.” Elijah poured his heart out to God:
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
God listened and then, in a “gentle whisper,” spoke to the man who was dejected even though he had been obedient to do the important work he had been hand-picked by God to do.
A compassionate God who saw the ‘big picture’ of Elijah’s circumstances assured him that he was not alone. He was not the only one who had refused to bend a knee to Baal. In fact, there were 7000 more believers, and God told Elijah how he could find them.
Now, back to that lonely Joshua tree. As we came around a bend in the road, this scene greeted us.
That lone Joshua tree wasn’t alone after all. A whole bunch of like trees—unique and in different stages of a Joshua tree’s life—were waiting just around the bend.
Both Elijah’s and the Joshua tree’s realities encourage me and remind me there are others in my world who also feel alone, awaiting meaningful relationship. From Elijah’s example, I see:
- God listens when I cry out. God isn’t intimidated by my personal pity parties and limited understanding.
- God speaks, but I must listen carefully with my heart because God’s voice is often no louder than a “gentle whisper.”
- I may be surprised to learn many other lonely people are just waiting for my friendship, a caring listening ear and encouraging word.
- The remedy to my loneliness may be a lot closer than I think!
If you are struggling with a sense of loneliness, I hope the examples of Elijah and the lone Joshua tree will encourage you…