Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection #28
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”
Psalm 25:16 (NIV)
As predicted, Canada seems to be entering the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are being closed again and we are being asked to not congregate with others. Canadians seem to be having a more difficult time with that the second time around. We remember how difficult it was for many last Spring, and it is difficult to imagine facing that again.
Interpersonal relationships are at the heart of a healthy human being. We genuinely need each other. The pandemic has forced us to quarantine, or self-isolate, new buzz words that are part of whole new COVID-19 lexicon. It isn’t surprising then that many who live alone are reporting a greater sense of loneliness. I heard a doctor say recently that one out of every four patients she sees just want someone to spend time with them.
King David understood this. In Psalm 25 he looks back on his life and recalls his failure and God’s faithfulness. We don’t know the background to the Psalm but it is obvious that David is lonely. In verse 16 he writes: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”
David is not facing self-isolation. His friends have turned against him – in verse 19 he writes: “See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!” David was convinced that everyone was against him and he was alone in the world.
Well, not quite alone. In the midst of his isolation, David turns to the Lord. Psalm 25 begins with a great statement of faith: “In you, O Lord, I put my trust.” He knows that God is always present and will never turn His back on the king. So in his loneliness he reaches out to God, calling upon Him, crying out to Him.
Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer died in a Nazi concentration camp. In spite of so many other fellow prisoners around, it must have been a place of profound loneliness – each person in their own world, clinging to life each day. Which makes what he wrote even more profound: “It is not that God’s help and presence must still be proved in our life; rather God’s presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ.”
On the night that Jesus was born, in a Bethlehem manger, God entered our world. He had always been active in the world he created, and in the lives of the people of this planet. But this was different. Now He had come to live and walk among us. Because He did, we can trust that He is forever Immanuel, forever “God with us.”
In those moments when you are most lonely, take time as David did to proclaim “In you, O Lord, I put my trust.” Then, in prayer, speak to God of your loneliness, seeking Him to turn to you and be gracious to you. Remember that when Jesus lived with the people of His day, He promised them, and us, that He would never leave us or forsake us.
I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.