Never Alone: Finding Your Secret Place With God
Lets get real, people. We as a culture, including myself, are terrified of being alone. For most of us, our days are so filled with business and noise that we rarely even face this ferocious beast called loneliness. Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Thats a pretty bold statement, but I think it holds a lot of weight. What happens when we put the phone down, get off social media, turn off the Netflix show thats on repeat, stop snapchatting every waking moment of the day... well, we have to face ourselves. We have to face us. Most of us don’t want to do that.
Living in the ache of loneliness and silence has always been very difficult for me. I have tried to battle this beast and ease the pain with distractions like social media, texting people, alcohol, and lust. All of which make it worse and try to bring peace to this natural human experience of loneliness. As a traveling musician, I have had so many moments on flights, in hotels, random peoples homes, and even being alone in my own house where I have faced the depths of this longing for something more, combined with a fear of nothingness. The good news is that Jesus has the answer to this problem we all face and he experienced it himself in an even more extreme way on the cross. So I think he is worthy of listening to. Jesus confronts the need of every human heart head on.
If we are being called to be a disciple of Jesus, we are going to have to follow him. It's kinda funny because everyone wants more followers these days, but Jesus said it first and it looks radically different than just pressing a button on a screen. I think of the time in the Garden when Jesus knew his death was approaching and he was with his diciples. He asked them to stay awake, watch and pray, but they all fell asleep. Jesus said, “Could you not keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37). I think I have heard a million talks on the importance of prayer. The funny thing is, I always have an excuse for why my prayer life sucks.
Since I gave my life to Jesus when I was 18, my prayer life has been difficult, dry, amazing, confusing, nonexistent, peaceful, and fickle - pretty much all over the place. I realized that this whole loneliness thing can only be healed if we face it head on, enter into the ache with Jesus. We know intellectually and physically we were made for relationship - and we know it theologically too, because we were made in God's image and likeness and God is a trinity of persons, a community. The reality is nothing in this world will satisfy this hole and fear of loneliness, not even the best marriage, job, accomplishments, or your ministry. Its Him, only the power of the Trinity, a relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that will begin to bring meaning and purpose to the life we live. If God made us, He alone would know the blueprint by which we would be able to live fully alive, fully functioning. Not that relationships, good jobs, and accomplishments are bad. They are good things. We just cant expect them to complete us when they were never made to.
Take A Big Step
This last year I have made it a point every day to actually be intimate with God in the secret place, that place of prayer and silence. I deleted all my social media, trying to detach from being molded by a fake virtual world that was making me a man of lust, worldly gain and not love. Starting with getting rid of distractions is huge, because honestly, I just know I’m really weak. Everyone is all about being spiritual these days - even atheists now are meditating, which makes me laugh. I really have experienced such freedom and have been empowered to face temptation with boldness, simply from facing my loneliness head on. Simply seeking God in the silence has been the answer for me. The beast will be slain with silence. Jesus gave us a way to pray and a way to face this human ache, “But when you pray go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret” (Matthew 6:6). Put down the phone, stop sending emails, stop listening to noise, go to your room and close the door. Don’t pray to check it off the list. Lovers want to be alone. Get alone with God and start giving Him the deepest, darkest stuff you got. Start facing you.
To follow Jesus means to deny yourself and pick up your cross... not really an exciting or popular thing to do today. But you weren’t made for you. You will find a peace that surpasses all knowledge when the revelation hits your heart that you were made to love God and others. Your fears and concerns of what people think, how much money you're making, your sexual desire, and every other concern will begin to melt away and find order in the intimate kiss of the Farther in the secret place. We are called to love God and others and you will be surprised how much your ache of loneliness will turn into joy when you enter into it with the power of the Trinity. You don’t have to 'face you' alone, because God sent his Son to go with you. When the anger, questions, hurt, fear of past and future events bubble up, hand them over to your Maker. Jesus said he will be with us till the end of the age. Your life was never yours to start with, so you might as well give it back to the Father. You are not alone.