Daily the enemy tempts me to believe I am alone and not one person on earth (not even family) wants to be with me. Out of all the things I need to watch and pray not to enter into (Matthew 26:41), the belief that I am completely alone in this world, is on the top of the list. Unfortunately, many times I forget that and before I realize it, I have not only entered, but am standing deep in the midst of Satan's lie.
One day when I was really feeling lonely and forgotten by both God and man, I went to a restaurant to eat and think. One of the bus boys caught my eye and smiled at me. I recognized him as one of the dads of the babies I took care of daily. At that time in my life, I was working in an intensive care nursery. The babies in this type of nursery usually have to stay a few months and nurses and doctors become an important part of the family's lives. I smiled back and hoped he didn't realize how sad I was. He said hello and smiled a lot at me while I sat waiting for my food. I even saw him standing with his co-workers, pointing to me while talking to them; then they all smiled at me.
My food arrived and I ate quietly, slowly, and sadly, wondering why I was so lonely and why God would allow it...why He wouldn't help me. I felt overcome with loneliness.
After eating and sitting a while, I decided it was time to go home so I asked for my check. The waiter brought it to me only to show me that the dad of my patient had paid for my meal. I was so shocked and said, "No"! But he would not take no for an answer as he smiled and refused to take any money from me. I thanked him and had to leave because I wanted to cry! He wasn't thinking about himself. He was thinking about how grateful he was of the care I provided to his sick child and how he wanted to show me that. I thought, "what a loving and selfless thing to do!" My heart was warmed, and I felt ashamed. Here I was sitting thinking about myself and my needs, wondering why God seemed to have forgotten me, and here this man was with a very sick child in the hospital and with, I'm sure, mounting medical bills, but despite his circumstances, he's thinking about me and how he can show how thankful he is! Lord, have mercy!
I got in my car and went home. But I couldn't get the encounter out of my mind. I was in awe and realized that could only be God showing me in His 'still small voice' way that I am not alone. Even though I was thinking not so nice thoughts about Him, He was still fighting for my victory! He knew the enemy was feeding me his lies. He also knew my heart and what I needed at that very moment and sent me, broken heart, and all, to that restaurant for some comfort and a reminder of His love. Something seemingly so small as someone paying for my lunch, turned my mind to Him and took it off myself. Instead of thinking of what I didn't have, I was in awe of how loved I felt. I will never forget that 'chance' meeting and it's still hard now, as it was then, to put into words how I truly felt. Thankful is a word that comes to mind. Suddenly I had to say, not "Why or why not, Lord", but "Thank you, Lord. THANK YOU!" Like that dad said to me with his simple gesture.
If you're feeling lonely, abandoned by God or don't even believe there's a God that loves you, perhaps you can think back on your life to a time, a place, an incident that made your heart full. Or maybe it's some seemingly small thing you can't get out of your mind because of how much peace it gave you. That could be His still small voice saying, "I love you and I'm here to guide you. Turn to me. Rest in me".
One of my favorite songs is Jericho by Andrew Ripp. There's a line in it that captures my whole life and I think, the essence of the gospel:
"Ooh, long before I ever called Your name You were fighting for my victory."