This week our worship team performed a song entitled I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe. It was immediately evident by the response and facial expressions how many people in the congregation were identifying with this song. Perhaps they had gone through a lonely period in their life and could look back and see God’s engagement in their solitude. Or maybe they were in the midst of the darkness at present and needed to hear words of reminder of our ever present Father.
Consider these moving lyrics:
When I walk through the deep waters-I know that you will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire-I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow-I will not fear
I am not alone, I am not alone
You will go before me-you will never leave me
You amaze me, redeem me, you call me as your own
The feeling of loneliness or solitude is an awful feeling. Most of us have at some time in our life experienced times of dark loneliness. We most likely worship each week with other parishioners who appear to have it all together but only come to church for the few minutes they receive of fellowship before returning to their lives void of companionship. Loneliness has many faces-the elderly person who has outlived all their relatives, the recently divorced man or woman who struggles to find joy in anything, the young person who is socially different and isolated, the recent widow, the homeless outcast, the forgotten incarcerated. Solitude is tangible-it’s heavy, it’s dark, it’s endless and it can crush a person’s will and spirit.
There are a host of online services for matching up people who are dating or looking for a mate-eharmony, Match, Christian Mingle, Our Time and others. Savvy (or totally insensitive) business people are making millions off of people’s desire not to be alone. But these only cover one demographic. I’ve yet to see a website called Prisoner Visit, Convalescent Companions, A Day Under the Bridge or any other site that addresses the many faces and situations of loneliness in our society.
I know from my own experiences that it’s hard to find comfort from scripture when you are in the darker times of your life. And yet, as a believer in Christ His words are often the only source of hope and encouragement we can cling to in times of trouble and solitude. We are reminded of God’s presence in dark times in Psalm 94:17-18;
“Do not be afraid-I will save you. I have called you by name-you belong to me. When you pass through deep waters I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through the fire you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord your God. ….because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor, do not be afraid. I Am With You!”
Sounds like the perfect lyrics to the perfect song to remind us that God is always near. Wish I had beat Kari to it!