Written for a church newsletter.
|I am rarely lonely. In fact, after teaching all day, I usually crave solitude. On the rare occasion that I am lonely, it seems to have nothing to do with whether or not I am with other people. I have a theory. To my knowledge, it has no basis in psychology or theology, so take it for what its worth. I think that when people are lonely, it is a deep feeling that there is no one who really knows them and accepts them, knowing the whole truth. This obviously can be the case regardless of your circumstances – alone or in crowds, married or not, from a large family or an only child.
The truth is that no person is really capable of knowing us that intimately. Even in the best of marriages, where couples complete each other’s sentences, there are still depths that go unexplored. In fact, we don’t even know the depths of our own souls until God reveals them to us, and this (I believe) is a life long process.
At 25, I ran away from a cult. In the years after that I asked God “How could I have been so deceived?” The answer – I was desperately seeking that unconditional acceptance and love. I continued looking for it in different churches until I gave up. Many people go from relationship to relationship, or try to dull the pain with substance abuse, or simply resign themselves to an unfulfilled life. The secret – it wasn’t to be found in people.
Only God knows the depths of our souls. He knows the darkness, the flaws, and the motivations. “O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me . . . And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (Ps 139:1 King James Verision) The amazing thing is that He still loves us. Knowing the things that we would be afraid to reveal to anyone else (or admit to ourselves), He still loves us! Beginning to understand this, I found peace for the first time in my life. The Amplified Bible translates grace as God’s unmerited favor. We don’t have to earn it. Knowing the whole truth, God still accepts us and loves us unconditionally.