Do you ever feel alone?
Isn’t it funny that in an age when we are meant to be the most connected with everyone around us, today is the time we feel most alone? So many times, I’d feel that I was fighting a losing battle on my own. One of my favourite stories in the Bible is that of Elijah. Elijah: the great prophet who fought for justice against King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, and who was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire, felt that he was fighting a losing battle on his own. As he hid in a cave by himself, God asked him what he was doing. Elijah answered:
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (1 Kings 19:14).
“I alone am left” is not a new idea to humanity. It’s a common lie that Satan tells us to make us feel that we are alone in our battle. But we are not alone, just as Elijah was not alone. 1 Kings 19:8 says, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him”. How did he not realise that there were at least 7,000 people who were like him, fighting for God? Because the “you are alone” lie is one of Satan’s favourites to weaken us and disarm us. Imagine a soldier fighting a war by himself? Of course, he will run at the first sight of the enemy. Imagine though that soldier knowing that he goes forward with a large, strong army?
Satan blinds you and all you can see is your loneliness and weakness.
When I am down and I feel that God has left me, I like to read from Job 37:14 until the end of the book. You’re probably thinking, that’s a strange choice. The thing is, there is a certain sweetness in completely submitting to God’s wisdom. When you are down in your nothingness, wondering where God is, aim to focus your eyes on God’s wisdom. When you are in your lowest, that is when you will feel God in His Highest. His infinite wisdom is above our limited vision. When we get to God’s level of wisdom (which of course is unattainable) and are able to perform the wonders He does in the book of Job, only then can we correct His choices in our lives. But since His wisdom and love is beyond our understanding, let us suffice with the knowledge that God’s love will cover us and His wisdom will only lead us to “things too wonderful for me” (Job 42:3).
The number one step to keeping spiritually strong is to partake of the Holy Sacraments (especially Holy Communion), prayer and reading the Bible. But one other practical way to keep focused on God’s power is to keep a spiritual journal. You can keep in it your favourite Bible verses, sayings of the Church Fathers and other spiritual sayings that move you. Think of it as a spiritual bank that you invest in when you are spiritually rich and refer to the journal to withdraw from when you are spiritually poor. Even better is to keep dates/links to events so that when you look back on them, you can relate them to concrete times in your life when they spoke to you.
Another thing is to keep a record of times that you felt something bad happen to you, when in fact God used this for your own good. Keeping “memories with God” is a good way of remembering the times when you thought that you were alone, but, in reality, God was preparing something much greater for you. Reading over these and reflecting over them will remind you of God’s wisdom and love for you in your own life.
So, coming full circle, even in those moments when we feel alone, we never really are: we’re commanded to be strong and of good courage because the Lord is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9), even unto the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). So, focus on your spiritual fitness, invest in your spiritual bank and keep your memories with God active in your mind. Ultimately, like Job, may we be able to say “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5).
SAYG ~ Suzy Hanna.