“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day“ (Genesis 32:24).
A life-long friend and I were reminiscing about our days of military service and the anxiety that all too often comes with service. One of the most profound experiences I recall as a young serviceman was feeling alone six-thousand miles away from home, family and friends. Unlike Jacob, there were several other servicemen, Marines and Sailors, within a reasonable distance I could reach out to for conversation and camaraderie. Call it growing-up, but I learned first-hand the meaning of being alone in the middle of a crowd. It is a bit difficult to put into words, but the expression “Just me and You Lord” sums it up.
Alone! How many sensations does the word “alone” conjure up to each of us? To some it may spell loneliness and despair, to others peace and quiet. My moment of definition came on a Sunday morning while walking on the beach of Zukeran-Okinawa, Japan. I needed the quiet time after the stressful and physical exertion of several weeks of intense combat training and thought I would find it on the beach. As I walked along the beach I noticed a small cypress tree jutting out of a crevice in the rocks. There it stood, high up in the limestone cliffs where they meet the ocean at the end of the soft white sand beach, by itself, alone.
I wondered, how long has that little tree been there, alone on that cliff? I scanned the cliffs, back and forth my eyes would go looking for its mate somewhere in the rocks. Finally, I gave up, that tree was alone. I started to feel a bit of loneliness creep into my soul, I was getting homesick, and I began to miss my family and friends. Staring at the great span of water known as the Pacific Ocean can make you feel small and insignificant, as well as, alone. My empathy for the tree was becoming sympathy for me, or was it the feeling of self-pity that precedes despair?
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1: 24). I looked at the sand and the little tree high up in the rocks and suddenly the sun broke through the morning haze in a big glowing orange ball, it almost startled me. It was in that very moment, God in all of His glory snapped me back to reality. The Spirit of God in an instant revealed to me the miracle of the little tree alone on the cliff side; it would not have been possible if it were alone without God. Who knows how many sunrises, storms and scorching hot days the tree had witnessed and survived, yet it stood strong with God nourishing it day by day.
My feeling of insignificance was washed away, I felt refreshed and invigorated. A single thought forced me to turn and leave the beach and the little tree; “All you have to do is get in your car and drive back to the military compound and there many of your comrades will be glad to see you.” The little tree could not leave it had to stand its ground withstanding the difficulties of life, alone on a hill. It occurred to me that it may seem to be alone but it was not, God was there with it just as He was there with me.
Jesus Christ—The Master, our Lord and Savior set a wonderful example for all believers while hanging on a tree. The night before he dragged that old rugged cross up Calvary’s Hill Jesus left the disciples to be alone with God the Father; “Tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). I do not know if trees can or cannot pray, but a tree taught me a valuable lesson, without God life alone on a hill of pain and suffering overlooking an ocean of despair is a bad place to be. Jesus cried out from the hill top and I can imagine that if that little tree on the cliff overlooking the ocean on the beach of Okinawa Japan could cry out; “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? It would have.
The tree does not cry out, but Jesus did. He was alone, just him and the Father as he hung from the cross. Jesus had a mighty purpose behind his command to the disciples, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray.” Jesus’ lesson was simple we need to get to a place where we are alone with the Father; just you and Him.
Scripture reminds us that the great miracles performed by the prophets Elijah and Elisha
took place when they were alone with God. Being alone with God is a life changing experience. We should seek Him often, alone, and watch Him work in and through our lives as He has in the lives of many before us:
Adam was alone “And the Lord God took the man, and put him in to the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
Moses was alone tending sheep on “the backside of the desert” when “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (Exodus 3:1-2).
Joshua, Moses’ minister, was alone when “the Lord commanded him…arise, go over
this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them” (Joshua 1:1).
Gideon was alone “threshing wheat by the winepress…and the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (Judges 6:11-12).
Cornelius was alone praying when “He in a vision evidently….an angel of God coming
in to him” with instructions for Simon Peter. (Acts 10:2)
Peter was alone and “went up upon the house to pray about the sixth hour” when he saw heaven opened. (Acts 10:9-11)
John the Baptist was alone in the wilderness after having been called to “go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.” (Luke 1:76), and
John the Beloved was alone in a cave “in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ….and heard a great voice, as of a trumpet” and Jesus dictated the letters to the seven churches to him. (Revelation 1:9)
Why should the Believer make a sincere effort to get alone with God? If we fail to spend
time one-on-one with Him we deprive ourselves of the most precious and rewarding moments in a Christian’s life. Also, we deprive others, family and friends of blessings, since when we are blessed we are to pass the blessing on. It may mean less outside work but the reward is a more intimate relationship with God. To be left alone without God, would be too awful for words, but to be left alone with Him is a foretaste of Heaven! If believers and followers of Jesus Christ spent more time alone with Him, we would never have to feel alone, ever again.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- Pensée pour ce matin : (jacquesguillard.wordpress.com)