To some extent, I feel like I don’t even need to write anything else, that title says everything I want to.
But then I think, well, what if it’s misinterpreted? Or, more importantly, what if someone reading this needs that to be explained, needs further convincing, because they aren’t quite sure whether or not to believe it? If that’s you, we’re in the same boat.
There is a wise woman who has put words to this–Sarah Bessey–and by clicking on that external link (the underlined name, for those of you who are still working on being tech-savvy), you can watch a short video that she made specifically about this truth that we are not forgotten, but the rest of her blog is definitely worth checking out as well. And it should be noted here that, though the thoughts in this post have been stirring in my brain for quite some time, it is her video/subsequent words that spurred me into actually writing them down.
For the past few years, I’ve lived in this tension of knowing that Jesus is very real and very present but at the same time being very sure that he was too busy to remember who I am, that his time was better spent on someone else. I became convinced that he had, in fact, forgotten about me.
This is not an isolated occurrence. I felt this way when I started college and again during one of the many summers I spent working at a Christian camp, and those are just the times that immediately come to mind right now.
I just finished reading a book of Mother Teresa’s letters in which she speaks of feeling a sort of soul darkness, an overwhelming sense that God had forgotten her or left her alone. And not even just alone, but lonely. Like bone-jarringly lonely.
And while I haven’t felt the Lord’s absence to that degree, I can begin to understand being filled with questions about whether or not we’ve been left to fend for ourselves, forgotten even by the One who created us and breathed us into being in the first place.
One of Mother Teresa’s spiritual advisors wrote about how the ache that she felt was made even greater by the fact that it hadn’t always been there–making the point that she wouldn’t have known something was missing if she had never experienced it firsthand.
It’s not entirely clear to me why this happens, why we experience seasons of doubt or loneliness, why sometimes it just seems like we aren’t heard or like we aren’t actually even being listened to. And oh, how I wish I could wrap these thoughts up neatly. Just throw in a couple verses about how Jesus is always the same, about how he’ll never leave us or forsake us, and that would be that. But life isn’t always that neat, yeah? I can say those things, all of which I believe to be true, but none of which alleviate the very present and very real sense of being left alone.
I would love to be able to say, also, that these seasons don’t last forever. But maybe that isn’t true, maybe the sense of loneliness will stretch on and persist, leaving us with gaping wounds that we can only hope will one day be filled like they used to be.
Isn’t hope what this life is about, though? We press on, we keep living and breathing, because we have hope that one day this will get better. One day all of this will make sense, and we will understand why Jesus chose to let us stay in whatever space it is that we feel trapped in at this moment.
And already, I can feel myself being able to minister out of and through loneliness. I think that knowing what it feels like has given me that much more insight into the reality that people without hope must wake up to day after day after day. And while, to some degree, loneliness is a very unique experience (meaning that each person wrestles with it in a slightly different way), it also begins to fade a bit when it is offered up, when we begin to speak of it to others.
So if this is you, if you’re in a lonely place right now, my encouragement to you is to not give up hope! Rather, let the hope of something better be what keeps you moving forward and pressing into this life. Put words to your loneliness, invite others into it with you.
And friends, know that just because the Lord is silent does not mean He is absent. He sees you. You are not forgotten.