Jesus lived his life as a single adult till his death. Because he lived his life as a single adult, he understands every aspect of what you and I are experiencing today. This series examines the "singleness" of Christ in relation to our singleness with the hope you will be encouraged to walk this journey you have been given. A journey that not only leads to the cross for our salvation but to his resurrection for our future.
Jesus Knew What It Felt Like to Be Alone?
I have tried and spent most of my life trying to do everything myself. I am the oldest of three younger brothers. When I was young, I had a father who was rarely home. So from an early age, I took on the responsibility of taking care of myself not to mention my brothers. Starting at the age of 8 I had a paper route plus other ways to make money. Not because it's good for kids to earn money, etc. but because I felt I had to, to take care of myself. This led to a pattern of self-reliance. Sure, my mom was there but she was very busy having to take care of everything in the home. She slowly designated certain activities to me as a way to help her. I quickly learned to do a lot of things on my own. I knew down deep my basic needs would be met; however if I wanted anything else, I would have to find a way to get it myself.
My parents' eventual divorce only led to even more self-reliance, a journey that led toward feeling isolated. Even though my mom remarried a wonderful man, a man who brought a sense of safety into our home, I had already learned to take care of myself. I felt no one understood me. No one could really relate. No one could meet my expectations, including myself sometimes.
This need to control my life, to take care of myself, was out of fear, fear of being alone. I wanted to be safe and know it would all be okay. I wanted someone else to take care of me for a change. I wanted to stop having to work so hard. I stayed weary in the fight to take care of myself. The more years that passed, the more alone I felt. Every time I had to attend another friend's wedding or get a birth announcement or hear about their move up the corporate ladder, it only emphasized my feelings of being alone. No one was there to help. No one could truly understand my pain. No one was there to take the load off. So I learned to carry the load, that is, until I met Jesus.
Jesus understood what it was like to carry a heavy load. Jesus was also the first born in his family. I am sure he remembers the responsibility of taking care of his siblings, helping his parents, etc. not to mention learning a trade to help support his family. The long days of hearing his siblings cry or fuss, or his mother too tired to clean up the dishes, or his father so busy with work that he had to do some of it to help out. Jesus probably felt like I did as a child that things didn't always seem fair. Because he was fully human, I am sure he also felt alone.
Jesus' understanding of being alone continued into his adult life. Jesus started his public ministry with the huge task of calling his disciples. These were men who time after time abandoned Jesus. (Luke 22:4-46). Not because they meant to hurt him, but because they were human. Most of us think of our own needs first. Due to our selfishness, we forget others who are lonely, hurting and need Jesus. Jesus had a huge task of teaching these men (and the many who followed) who he was and why he was here. He taught them a lifetime of knowledge so they would continue his ministry. What a burden on Jesus! So much to do in so little time. So much to do with men who at times forgot who he really was and why he was here. Jesus, I am sure, at times felt like no one was getting it. Was he alone in this battle, this journey? Would these people EVER get it? Do we get it?
Jesus spent the last years of his life, doing whatever it took to get us to understand who he is. That he died for us. That he knows the incredible burden we feel. He may have at times felt alone, not due to him but due to his disciples (even due to us today), but he was NEVER alone. He totally relied on God for all things. He knew from the beginning that without total reliance on God, life would not have purpose. Christ came—ready to take on our load, our burden, and our sins, so that in doing this we would never be alone. Our total dependence on Christ means that you are not alone.
So okay, I hear you Lord. I know I need to depend on you and not me. I know you died for me. I know you said to bring all my burdens to you, all who are heavy laden (Matthew 11:28).
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." This sounds good, Lord. But how can I just give it all to you when I am so used to doing it all myself? How can I trust you? I mean, Lord, do you truly understand how I feel? I am afraid, Lord. I am afraid you will abandon me like some of my friends and family. So, you see, it's just easier to keep doing it all myself. Then I know it will get done. Then I can control the pain, the hurt and rejection."
Then Christ stretched out his hands, and looked into my heart, and whispered," I did this for you, Kris. You don't have to do it anymore. I won't ever leave you. I will never stop loving you. You are so beautiful. I made you. I made you to depend on me. I made you for a relationship with me. Again Kris, you don't have to do it anymore." Then I heard, "kerplunk." That was my load; it's gone. "But Lord, I, I, I ..." "Kris, it's all going to be okay."
Jesus, as a single, as a human, as my Savior understands what feeling alone is all about. The devil tries to make us feel that WE ARE alone. But you have to keep reminding him of the truth. We ARE NOT alone. So every time you begin to feel isolated, misunderstood, and even frustrated, carry it to God. Lean on him for all things. Tell him what is going on in your life. The world can sometimes make you feel like you are alone. Maybe it's due to the truth or a lie, but no matter what we can be assured we are not alone. We have the Lord, our Savior. Thank you, Jesus.
Questions for Discussion or Personal Exploration:
1. When you were young, did you ever feel alone?
2. As an adult, do you ever feel alone? How?
3. What are some positives and negatives of being alone?
4. Read and discuss John 16:32.
5. Read and discuss Matthew 9:2-13.
6. Read and discuss John 8:29.
7. Read and discuss 1 Timothy 5:5.
8. Read and discuss Matthew 28:20.
Start today to pray and ask the Lord to reveal his truth to you. What in your life are you not giving over to him? What are you still trying to carry yourself? Does carrying this burden create more isolation in your life? He is there, waiting to give it all to him, waiting for your total reliance on him. Waiting to lead you in victory. Can you hear him whisper?
**This article first published on August 5, 2010.
Kris Swiatocho is the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 20 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is currently working on her third Bible study, From the Manger to the Cross: The Men in Jesus' Life. Her second Bible study, From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life, was published last fall and is available on her websites. Her first book, Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment, was co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources.
TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries helps churches, pastors and single adult leaders evaluate, develop and support their single adult ministries through high-energy speaking engagements, results-oriented consulting and training and leadership development conferences and seminars. Click here to request a FREE "How to Start a Single Adult Ministry" guide.
FromHisHands.com Ministries is Kris's speaking ministry. If you've ever heard her speak, you know that Kris is the kind of speaker who keeps the crowd captivated, shares great information and motivates people to make a difference in the lives of those around them! She speaks to all church audiences on everything from "first impression" ministry to women's topics to singles and young adults. She can speak on a Sunday morning, at a woman's retreat or for a single adults conference. Bring Kris to your church today!
Singles and Relationships by Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell
Many singles are Christians who wonder if God will ever bring a mate their way or if they should just stop focusing on a future with a marriage partner and live the single life to the fullest. Kris Swiatocho and Dick Purnell offer solid biblical answers for singles in this newest title in Dick's popular 31-Day Experiment Bible study.