A Lonely Place

“. . . a lonely place . . .”

“Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of town to a lonely place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

I was taking portrait photos during our youths’ Valentines Day dinner in a room with large windows.  All evening my attention kept being drawn to this scene outside.  I couldn’t leave for the evening without going outside and taking a few photos.  What you’re seeing is actually part of the prayer garden that’s maintained by our youth along with some very helpful adults.  I guess the starkness of it all drew my attention.  It really does look like such a lonely place, but don’t you feel strangely drawn into it?

Loneliness is something we tend to avoid.  The fear of loneliness can drive us to make unhealthy decisions about relationships, partnering with someone who is really not good for us, but at least helps us escape the loneliness we dread.  Sometimes the experience of loneliness also causes us to fill our lives with unhealthy habits to help distract us from the anxiety and fear we feel as we flounder in the soup of our perceived destruction.  Yet, Jesus sought and invited us to seek a lonely place – to pray, and there to find that God can meet us even in the loneliness.  God’s presence can offer us the reassurance we need in the loneliness and thus transform anxiety and fear into peace.  With the peace of God we can avoid our fear driven unhealthiness.

I find it so important that I have a lonely place from time to time, a place where I can intentionally seek the calming presence of God away from all the business.  Sometimes my lonely place is one of the rocking chairs at the back of our empty sanctuary.  Other times the loneliness is a walk somewhere with my camera.  I’ve learned that the loneliness is essential to my sanity and to my ministry.

I know that for those who live alone, whether through the loss of a loving partner or just life’s journey of singleness, the experience of loneliness is probably different from mine.  Yet even in those situations it seems important to find affirmation in fellowship and comfort in loneliness.  In all our lives and situations we need to find that God is in it all, and we are never truly alone with God’s presence.

I pray that God will continue to push me to the lonely places so I can find the reassurance, renewal, and challenge of God’s presence.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”


~ by revgenelson on February 25, 2015.

One Response to “A Lonely Place”

  1. Thanks for all you do. lilypup…desert mission united methodist church scottsdale, arizona http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com/

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