You Are With Me!
What is the opposite of encouragement? I believe it is loneliness. Life brings bad experiences. Grief, pain, despair…loss, shame, betrayal…injury, disease, death. But add loneliness and what was unhappy fades into unbearable, difficult into dreadful, harsh into hopeless, impractical into impossible.
Loneliness is a complicated emotion. It enters our minds when we feel separated or isolated, especially to the exclusion of all. It convinces our hearts we have no one to come alongside us, no one with whom to share our lives. But these are lies.
In English, alone can mean different things. I can be alone on an island (total isolation), in a crowd (feeling isolated), in my thoughts (focused on thinking), or with you (separated with others). I can breathe alone (without help) and worship God alone (only). Confusing?
Loneliness and being alone can be very different.
Before Matthew wrote of Jesus walking on water, he described something very important. He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 1 As we’ve seen, alone can be a very confusing word. So what did Matthew mean?
The Greek word here is based on monos which means: remaining. When used as Matthew did, the intent is to add “without a companion”. So He remained there without a companion. Jesus had sent the Disciples away. He was separated from them. But He wasn’t utterly alone.
Though surrounded by evil, we have God with us.
King David understood the depths of loneliness. But He also knew that even if we are abandoned by all, we are never utterly alone. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. 2
David paints a picture of walking by himself in a deep, narrow gorge, rocky cliffs on either side, darkened by danger and death. Even then he will not be afraid. Not because He is a wise king, a great warrior, or a clever man. But because Lord God Almighty is always with him.
There is assurance for those who follow God.
Centuries later, Jesus repeated for us the same assurance David had expressed for himself. And know this! I exist among you now and am with you forever, even to the very end of this age. 3 As foretold by the Hebrew prophets, 4 we truly have God with us.
From David in the gorge, Jesus on the mountain, to each of us who at times struggle and lose hope, God’s message is clear. You will never be alone, for I am with you…always.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Read Matthew 14:23b. (2) Psalm 23:4. (3) Read Matthew 28:20. (4) Read Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23.
Pictures: Banner: Alone At Sunrise, image in the public domain, pxhere.com. (1) Alone In A Crowd, photo by Shelly Perry/spfoto, Getty Images/iStockphoto. (2) Not By Bread Alone, painting by C. Michael Dudash, Gallery4Collectors.com. (3) Skippers Canyon, New Zealand, photo by Chuck Graham (2018). (4) I Am With You Always, created by Laura Webb, LauraWebbDesigns.com.