I feel largely hypocritical in writing anything that is to be shared from the Bible, but I do recall that “There is no one righteous, not even one…” (Romans 3:10). This is comforting for a moment of course, because it’s a reminder that outward appearance and the perception of perfection is in fact a fallacy and this even includes what we project outward from ourselves. We are not perfect, and often see ourselves as a work in progress, but others as a finished product. This removes the capacity for others to improve, because we make them to be out to be more than they are. It removes our patience and understanding and replaces it with frustration.
Regardless of the outward perception of perfection we must turn our mirror inward and truly ask ourselves the deep question in our search for God. How do I reflect God? What am I to construct in His name? Have I glorified God with my actions today? Is God present even in my emotional turmoil?
Many men will find issue with reliance on God, mostly due to hubris, which is equivalent to finding iniquity with the blessings that have been given to us. Which is wholly understood however let’s ask one question, even if you don’t believe in God. Is it more worthwhile to believe that you have a supreme, all-powerful ally, real or not? Or is it better to live a life and not even consider an ally exists?
There are no easy answers to the questions posed in this essay, but I march forward and remind myself vehemently that God is with me, even when it feels like no one else is. Neither at church, nor home, nor the gym, this suffering is real and heart-felt.
I write these words, mostly as a reminder to myself of God’s power, but also because they are true, and because they have power. Many men feel as I do, lonely, and hear no reminders of the love that is with them. I write these words to spread truth, to spread what needs to be heard. I could spend all my hard earned money on books and TV shows that tell me exactly what I want to hear. That is pure emptiness though; there is no growth or adversity to be made stronger by. There is only redundancy and atrophy in this type of living.
Often times, the loneliest ones are made to be the bearers of weight unimaginable in the production and construction of something even greater than themselves. Perhaps, I write this to make myself feel better solely, or only because I do not want my thoughts to fade into obscurity. Regardless of why it is written the Bible proves my point that lonely men are used to create great things. The Bible provides wisdom when it is called on. It tells us, “you are not alone; let me prove it”.
As I write to answer these questions. My starting foundation for how to deal with emotional turmoil must always be the Bible. That is because it primes our understanding of others’ suffering and the end result of that. Something that is lost upon many modern people, because they (myself included) feel unique to any situation we are presented with. The Bible doesn’t succeed as a book, because of its divinity. It succeeds, because it catalogs and showcases the endless suffering of the masses of all of humanity and their triumphs in spite of that fact. That is why the Bible is adored, that is why it has resonated with people all over the world. Too often, especially in modernity we are told to shy away from revealing the ugly truth of the situation. Reminded to hide away the thoughts of depression, crime, immorality, because that is not righteous and true. This does not jive with me though, because these are destroyers of men when they are kept forever internal. Rather a better method would be to expose to sunlight all that we hold dear, and what remains is a true reflection of ourselves.
As the Bible is the basis of my understanding of the nature of God, I am reminded that loneliness is also a tool of His creation. Despite preferences for the social aspects of life, Jesus too needed rest away from others. Prior to Jesus’ arrival on Earth we are presented with the loneliness of other notable characters and how God made them to be creators of His kingdom here on earth. David, Daniel, and Joseph all experienced loneliness and often in exasperating circumstances that neither I nor most others have ever known.
The shepherd boy, David, whom killed lions and bears with nothing more than a slingshot 1 Samuel 17:36 would have spent copious amounts of time alone in the wilderness while tending sheep. A shepherd boy turned king was only able to lead wisely due to his time alone and reliance on God solely. This is evidenced by the fact that when he went to face Goliath he was alone with God, his only ally, was with him then too. David’s struggle is highlighted by the fact that we all face unwanted and monumental challenges in life, but only those that pray for strength in adversity make it out alive and with a greater appreciation for the challenges that they too have faced.
Often times we are faced with turmoil based on outward circumstance that resides outside our control, read this as always. To this end politics, social and economic factors can lead us through hardship, but the rewards and glory of God can still be seen in the end of it all. The people that have experienced the result of a regime change, like Daniel, can attest to the uncertainty that would permeate every facet of life. This is something that Americans take for granted because we are benefitted by; stability in politics, world power, and general living conditions for some 200+ years. It’s an unprecedented time of prosperity for anyone that is so fortunate to experience it. Daniel showcases the reliance and virtuoso toward God one should have. One can only imagine the loneliness that is felt while residing in a den of lion’s. Yet here too Daniel calls upon God and he is delivered from the evils of man. A reminder, that this hardship is only temporary.
Sometimes the harshest realizations of truth can lead us to the greatest outcomes. One cannot imagine the feeling of loneliness and betrayal one would experience after their own siblings sold them into slavery. Yet this is exactly what happened to Joseph. Betrayal of course reserves one’s spot at the lowest level of Hell according to Dante. This type of sin committed against us would be almost unforgivable, but representative of God’s endless grace, Joseph forgives his brothers for betraying him. Judas Iscariot may reside in the jowl of Satan himself, but we have today to ask for forgiveness and to forgive others. Although he was separated from his brothers, family, home, and native lands God’s love still shined upon Joseph eventually rising to prominence in the society that purchased his freedom. A reminder that even in our loneliness God is with us.
The suffering we can observe in each of these people’s lives may meet or exceed the amount of suffering we are experiencing. We should know, and I should remind myself daily, that God is with me even when I don’t feel His presence immediately, because in those moments of turmoil and tears we are made stronger by His grace. In fact, it is sufficient above all other things.
How then does this fit into our own lives? In society, we are deafened by sounds, screens, issues, problems both on a personal level and global level. The noise and warnings and notifications and sirens and beeps and bleeps and traffic jams and lack of quietness surround us constantly and at all times! To this then, what do we do? We must leave it every so often, sit in darkness for five minutes and pray about it, alone. For as many times as we are reminded of what is not perfect, we should strive to remind ourselves that God is perfect and watches over us vigilantly and always. Is it easy? No, of course not, life still has to be lived, but at the end of the day the person that is actively praying is getting more out of the situation than the person that is not.
Prayer to God separated Daniel from the rest of the people when a new king took charge. The betrayal of Joseph leads him to prosperity. God saw them through. They were alone and scared, but they prayed and God heard, and God delivered on His promise like He always does without failing.
Thanks for reading.