Solitary Horse

solitaryhorse

 

When I am either on my way to the lake or coming home I see this one lone solitary horse in a field near my Mom’s lake house. I don’t know what his story is or why he is alone, but day after day, week after week, year after year I see this horse alone in this field; winter, spring, summer and fall, sunny, rainy, snowy, hot as hell or cold as ice. There he is. Alone. I don’t know if he ever had a companion?  I don’t know if he doesn’t play well with others? He has a barn and someone must feed him something other than the grass he nibbles. He could be the nicest horse on earth or the most persnickety, I just don’t know. When I stop my truck and try to entice him with an apple or a carrot he acts like he doesn’t see or hear me.

So, when I see Mr. Horse I have developed a routine where I say a simple prayer for all those who are – for whatever reason – alone or lonely or isolated, either by their own doing or that of another. The prayer helps me connect to people who are hurting, and I leave the rest to God.

All I know is that loneliness has got to be one of life’s most painful experiences. Since God created us as relational beings, the absence of companionship can be very discouraging. At some point, all of us have probably dealt with feelings of isolation; but it’s especially difficult when we’re going through a trying situation and there is no one to help or encourage us. What we want most at that moment is companionship, support, and comfort so that our emotional pain will go away. But sometimes the situation persists, and the isolation seems as if it will go on forever. At times like this, we need courage to endure.

Perhaps, in some weird way, God can use our times of loneliness to achieve some purpose in our lives? Sometimes, these situations can be prime opportunities to develop godly character within us – as we learn to depend on God, it brings us into a closer relationship with Him. When we’re all alone and others are unable or unwilling to help, He is the One who never leaves us.

Saint Paul knew the pain of loneliness. After a rough start (ahem!) and then many years of faithful service to the Lord, the apostle found himself in a cold, dank Roman prison. Paul’s last letter to Timothy gives us a glimpse of his surroundings, condition and how Paul felt during the final days of his earthly life. Paul sorely missed the company of those he loved and he felt the pain of being deserted. The constraints and discomfort of prison life added to Paul’s sense of isolation. He was no longer free to do what he loved most – to travel the world, spreading the gospel message, starting churches and making believers into disciples. With each passing day Paul knew that death was imminent. Whew.

Though the Romans ruled the world at the time, Paul knew that he wasn’t really alone in prison, and that the TRUE Ruler of All the World was standing right beside him. One man plus the Ruler of the Universe is more powerful than any earthly authority. Before Christ ascended to the Father, Christ promised His followers, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20.)  In fact, this past Sunday, on Pentecost, we believers heard again that we have the Holy Spirit within us, and He will remain with us forever. (John 14: 16-17.) In times of loneliness, isolation or fear, I hope we can also remember that the Lord is always with us – even if we can’t always perceive Him at that time.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember and to always know this, but we’re actually never ever alone. May we all be so blessed as to always know of God’s provision, presence and love.

Peace friends,

Chuck

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