Friday, July 13, 2012

Look at Loneliness

             Loneliness called out to Roger as he trekked along the back trail to Woodland.  He turned and noted with some alarm darkening clouds approaching behind him.  A practical man, he decided to catch a quick break under the thick branches of a spreading oak tree before he’d double his efforts to keep ahead of the storm.
First, he glanced around for his own safety, then sat down on a log. The voice from somewhere called again, “Loneliness!  Loneliness!” 
He took a long drink from his canteen; no sense being so thirsty, surely there’d be water ahead somewhere soon.  
Logic tried to bring Roger some peacefulness in his mind, but Loneliness wouldn’t leave.  Roger tightened his grip on his walking stick, as if muscles could do what his mind refused to do.  
The rain came as gentle sprinkles at first, which soon were outdone by piercing hard slashes of rain.  Roger pulled his hat more firmly on his head, hunching over to spare his face. The tree deflected a lot of the downpour, and that led to an unexpected blessing.
Time seemed to stand still, and everything was quiet all around him.  Then, it came again as if on cue, the word “Loneliness!”, but this time it was definitely coming from right beside him as he was sitting on the log.
“What? What is going on! Roger’s man-sized sensibilities had to inquire.  “Oh, God, what’s going on!”  It wasn’t a question; it was more of an aggravated exclamation of a person nearly losing his cool. 

“Roger,” said a kind voice, “Nice of you to call on Me.”  
Squinting his eyes, Roger jumped up, swirled around, and seeing nothing at all in the rain’s fog sat back down.  
“I am in a mess.  I am in a pitiful situation.  I must be losing what’s left of my mind.”  He acknowledged aloud to no one. 
“Roger, you are about to receive a blessing from Me.  I am the LORD, the God you call on when life piles up complications all around you.”
“God?  I haven’t talked to You since I was . . . about seven years old! Roger’s surprise turned into a thoughtful conversation.  
“Grandma took me to Sunday School when she came to visit, and each kid put a few sentences into the prayer the teacher had at the end of class one day.  Afterwards the old lady,  I think her name was Mrs. Bates, called me aside and said, ‘Roger, you were frowning when we all started to pray, but when you added your sentence into the prayer your face was beaming!’  
“What a surprise! Roger exclaimed.  “I said, ‘Why, teacher, you didn’t have your eyes closed for the prayer.’  And she said, ‘Roger, it’s nice to close our eyes to focus on God, but that’s not really needed.  God hears you even when your eyes are wide open!
God affirmed, “I know.  I was there.  Sweet Mrs. Bates, she’s in Heaven now.”
Roger fell silent then.  His mind was trying to sort out events of the now and events of the past.  He’d grown up to be a sensible, yet frustrated man. He had tried one occupation after another. His marriage dissolved when he was criticized for something every day after day two. No success, no big breakthroughs. His view of the future seemed to be clouded.  Now, here he was alone and very aware of his uncertainties.
It was God who broke the silence after a few minutes.  “Loneliness is a gift from Me.  I sent you that voice.”
“Oh, that doesn’t add up,” was Roger’s frowning reply.  
Loneliness is like that sign you passed on the trail.  Its blessing is to bring a quiet contemplation so you will open the windows of your heart and see Me, holding out My hands to you.  I’ve been here all along,” God said.
The reassuring voice of God went on to explain, “I’d like to show you what to do, which turns to take in the path ahead, how to avoid temptations on the way, and which challenges are actually Opportunities for you.”  
Roger felt the need to describe his predicament, “I’ve been too busy, but I guess that’s the world pulling on me, this way and that way. I’ve tried quick fixes, drinking and smoking and entertainment. Then my last boss sent me for a medical referral.  Bi-polar, depression, allergies, lots of medicines to try.  A pep talk from some shrink.”
“I’m here . . . ”  God reminded him.
“And, yes Loneliness has already captured my heart.  I guess Depression is unavoidable. But,” Roger added pensively, “Mom and dad keep saying they pray for me.  You didn’t answer that prayer.”
“I sent Loneliness on ahead, so you and I could have this very private, personal talk. Loneliness reveals the condition of your heart so you can let me sweep out the distractions and make room for Me to come in.  I’d like to be your very best friend.  I love you, Roger.”
Is it a manly thing to let tears roll down your face?  
       There was honest repentance when asking Jesus to come into his heart.  He vowed to trust and obey God.  And he would certainly find a Bible when he got to town. 
Roger would tell us now that he felt more like a happy, completed man after that talk he had with God.  It was a wonderful new beginning. 
Yes, Loneliness led to a blessing.  Roger didn’t walk alone anymore.  
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by Elaine Hardt ©2012