April 11
Lonely - but not alone
For reading & meditation: John 16:19-33
"' you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." (v.32)

We spend one last day looking at the issue of loneliness. Our meditations on this subject have made one thing clear: it is in the periods of loneliness that we most abandon ourselves to God and learn how to depend upon Him utterly and completely. The more I read the biographies of those who have achieved great things for God, the more I realise that their deep knowledge of Him came, in part, out of moments of profound loneliness. It was in such moments that "the God of remarkable surprises" revealed Himself and gave them an understanding of His grace and power such as they could never otherwise have known. Is it not true that God's glory bursts through most powerfully when the sky is at its darkest? Does not His strength uphold us most when we are feeling weak and inadequate? And does not His love penetrate most deeply when we feel unloved or isolated from others? When we are prepared to die to our own interests and are willing to follow our Lord fearlessly along the path which He sees is best for us, we experience, not just temporal, but eternal rewards. The seed that falls into the ground and dies is the one that yields a rich and bountiful harvest. Many of us fail to be fruitful in our Christian life and experience because we are afraid or unwilling to face the issues which demand a whole-hearted commitment to the will of God. We save ourselves - and then what? We finish up by not liking the self we have saved. Make no mistake about it - God's way is best, even though a thousand hardships beset the path.

O God my Father, give me the courage of Jesus who, despite His loneliness and isolation, went on to achieve Your perfect will. Quicken within me today the sense that when I am walking with You I may feel lonely, but I am never alone. Amen.

For further study:
1. How did it seem to Mary and Martha in their moment of loneliness?
2. What did Jesus say to them?