“I think I might be all alone in this,” is a thought that crosses our minds when we get to certain places in the journey of our lives.
That’s a theme in our reading for today.
In the continuing saga of the children of Israel and their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, they often passed through lonely and desolate places. This was discouraging to the Israelites and provoked quarreling with their leader, Moses. That, in turn, was a huge discouragement to Moses: “The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?’… Then Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.'” (Exodus 17:1-2, 4, NIV).
Almost 1500 years later, Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River. Immediately following this affirming moment in which the Heavenly Father declares Jesus “my Son, whom I love,” our Savior is led out into a lonely and desolate place. There he is subjected to the attacks of Satan: “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him” (Mark 1:12-13, NIV).
In between these two, 1000 years before the birth of Jesus, stands King David. He also knows loneliness and times of solitude in the wilderness. His trust does not waver or wane. He prays to God: “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help” (Psalm 22:11, NIV).
Interestingly, Psalm 22 is a messianic Psalm. The thoughts expressed here are not only the thoughts of David. They are by inspiration of the Holy Spirit also a prophetic expression of the thoughts of Jesus.
And they can be your thoughts as well. In your journey, you will experience wilderness moments. You will walk through lonely places. You will experience lonely thoughts.
And you have a Savior who understands. You have a God who has been there. And he promises to be there with you, to carry you through, and sustain you as you journey.
In your lonely places, in your lonely thoughts, you can pray as Moses, David and Jesus prayed: “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.”
Our Bible reading for Sunday, February 15, is Exodus 17:1 – 18:27, Mark 1:1-28 and Psalm 22:1-11.
Lord, be with me through the lonely places in my life. Assure me that I do have help. You are my powerful and loving help. Though my thoughts are lonely, assure me that with you in my life, and in my heart, I am never alone.
Header image based on "Panorama of the Judean Wilderness" by Scott, CC By-SA 2.0