On the night He was betrayed, Jesus told His disciples many things but one that popped out to me this week was His simple statement in John 16:32: “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed by one of His first disciples and abandoned by all the rest within hours. He knew that as soon as He was taken into custody His boldest and most enthusiastic follower—Peter—would deny Him to a servant girl.
“Yet I am not alone,” he said. Not alone? Why? Because “the Father is with me.”
We love those verses where God says He will never leave us or forsake us (like Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5, 8; etc.). We feel encouraged when we hear Jesus promise that He will be with us always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). The only problem is that we don’t truly believe those verses. Not truly. We are discouragingly quick to develop spiritual amnesia and quickly forget the extravagant promises made to us.
The truth is, any time you feel abandoned, alone, companionless, deserted, estranged, forgotten, forsaken, isolated, left, lonely, lonesome, outcast, rejected, renounced, or withdrawn you have forgotten the reality that you are never alone. That feeling of loneliness is an illusion; a lie. You are not alone, for the Father is with you.
For many years I used to feel alone when I was surrounded by a crowd of people. I completely understand the feeling that no one understands you. I also know the loneliness that you feel, because no one, not even your closest friends (not even your spouse), truly understands you. And yet the desire to be understood is universal to all of us. People say things like “he just gets me” when we describe how we feel about our friends. But the truth is that no one truly understands us except for God. We know a God who knows us better and deeper than we will ever know ourselves.
For the first time in my life I do not feel alone because I’ve learned to turn to God for understanding, comfort, and companionship. He TRULY gets me! And only He will ever get me. He knows when I wake up and when I lie down. He knows my words before they are on my lips. He knows me. I can’t tell you how real this has become to me over the last few months. Leaving Alaska and the military, starting over at a new church, starting seminary. None of those people get me. They could never. The truth is, as long as God is here with me, those feelings of loneliness are an illusion. God promised to never leave me nor forsake me, He knows everything about me, and so I rest on His promise that I will always be understood and I will never be alone. I encourage you to look up for understanding and not to your left or right. You are not alone, for the Father is with you.