When was the last time you felt lonely? I don’t like to admit when I feel lonely. I can be a little melancholy and reflective. I can feel lonely after a big event, in the midst of a crowd, or after a personal success.
Loneliness can come visit any of us for so many reasons. We miss someone or we long for a different place. We can feel lonely when we are in a situation that is is new, we are around others who are not “like us,” or we do not feel understood.
Full and Lonely?
The other day I was wondering if Jesus felt lonely. Can He sympathize with my loneliness? He often went off alone.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, while he dispersed the crowds. And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. Matthew 14:22-23
His life was full of people, of a purpose and of love from and for His Father. He had everything. And it seems like He had everything that would keep anyone from feeling lonely. But was He lonely? Can you be full and still feel lonely?
Full of People
A life full of people does not mean that we will not be lonely. And there are times we are giving, serving or caring for others– but we still feel lonely. As we care for others we can even wonder, “Will my needs be taken care of? Will someone ask about me?”
Jesus calls us to be servants. As I think about this, I remember that a servant gives up their rights: their rights to be understood, to be served, and to be the important one. A natural tendency is to desire appreciation, approval, and recognition. But often we don’t experience this. Or if we do, it is short lived.
A servant life can be lonely– not lonely without hope or without a purpose, but lonely because the servant realizes that their needs are truly only met by their Master–not by those they serve or any one person, and not by the world.
Full of Purpose
A purpose gives us meaning in life, goals and motivation. So how can I feel lonely then, when I have a great purpose?
But what if the purpose feels like it is from “another world?” What if the purpose is not always embraced by those closest to me? What if my purpose leads me down a path that others don’t understand and don’t really accept?
Sometimes our purpose can feel different from what the world is pursuing, and that feels lonely.
Full of Love
Now this seems odd– how can I feel lonely when I am completely loved? There are days I long for heaven and to be with the Him who loves me completely.
My Father in heaven promises a place that will be new, without tears and sin. He says we will have perfect resurrection bodies with good work to do. He says that He is going to create a new world that will be familiar– this world as only a reflection of it– but also very different. We can look forward to a time, an eternity, to continue to grow, love, worship, serve, work and experience true life!
But right now my feet our planted on this earth. And the continual news of suffering and pain of the world each day makes me long for a different world.
As I long for my true home I feel lonely, for this world is not supposed to satisfy, or be too familiar. This is a normal feeling. I belong to another imperishable world.
Was Jesus lonely?
Back to my original question, “Was Jesus lonely?” He had a life full of people, full of purpose and full of love from and for His Father.
He was often with people He loved and He called “friends.” But they were not really His peers. They could never totally relate to Him. He was God and man. How would it feel to never be totally understood and never really around peers?
He served, worked and loved continually. But how many people do you think asked Him, “How are you doing Jesus? How are you feeling today?” For some reason, I don’t imagine people thinking about Him. Some did serve Him with food, or annointed Him with perfume. But in His most dire moments, those closest to Him slept.
Jesus was also away from home. He left His secure heavenly home to come for us. Leaving a good, secure home always feels uncomfortable and lonely.
I have concluded that Jesus was lonely.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a lonely place, where he prayed. Mark 1:3
I think He was lonely for the reasons above, but also because He sympathizes with us. He experienced loneliness because we feel lonely at times. He knows that as long as we are away from our true home and destiny, there will always be loneliness. Being away from home always makes us a little lonely.
Somehow, this gives me comfort, for I realize that in my loneliness I am really not alone. I love it that Jesus is always with me, and has given me the Comforter. I am glad that being lonely doesn’t mean I am doing something “wrong,” or there is something “wrong” about me. It actually may indicate I am walking down the right path.
For, servants will feel lonely, the world will feel unsatisfying, and my heart will long for complete rest with the Father when everything is much better. Then I will be home.