Tuesday, May 18, 2010

He satisfies

I have experienced a lot of kinds of loneliness in my life since college, from the loneliness of falling asleep with the screeching sounds of the bush all around me and the darkness so thick I can't see the hand in front of your face to the loneliness of getting off an airplane in a foreign country where no one speaks your language and you have no idea who is going to meet you to the loneliness of being surrounded by dozens of people every day, friends even, happily conversing and laughing in their languages and never being able to understand them and laugh along with them or never being fully understood.

I used to think that loneliness was something that would go away if…I was with more people, if I were in America, if I was in an English speaking country, if I was in a more civilized town, if I had closer friends, etc. But it is always there.

For the past year I’ve experienced a different kind of loneliness which is the loneliness of leadership. Staff are wonderful and supportive, but when it really comes down to it, you as the leader are the one who has to make the final decision. You are the one who will be held responsible. You are the one who has to clean up the mess, when no one else will. You are the one who will stay up at night tossing and turning as you ponder the problems and challenges of 50+ people and their families who are counting on you.

And so I have discovered that in whatever situation, loneliness is always there. My question to God of late is what to do with this loneliness, what to do with this ache? There is no antidote to it. No quick fix that makes it go away. It is always there, and I think in some ways it is always meant to be with us as a reminder that we are not of this world, we are meant to be misunderstood and to be strangers on earth. Our home is in heaven. Or as my mom said the other day, “Your culture is His Kingdom.”

And so with no antidote and no solution and no amount of business with which to numb it, the only response I have found to the problem of loneliness is more love. Isaiah 58 says:

“If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail…
Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth.”


Or if I write this into my own situation, it reads something like this:

“If you extend your soul to the hungry

(If you give yourself to those who are in need)

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

(and make it your aim to help others God has placed in your life who are aching and hurting)

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

(Then the darkness of your loneliness will be brightened)

The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,

(He will satisfy and fill your heart even when it feels completely empty)

And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail…

(You will find that you have fulfillment in your life and you will not lack in any situation)

Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth.”

(Then your source of delight and joy and satisfaction will be not in people or in situations but only in Him, and He will cause you to walk on the difficult places and to triumph in every circumstance).

And so I have found the answer to loneliness is this: that when I set my heart to love more the ones around me the loneliness kind of gets swallowed up in the love. And when my days are filled with loving and serving and giving to satisfy those around me, I find He satisfies my soul.

1 comment:

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