Pastor's Pen: The remedy for being alone  

A famous comedian and actor committed suicide a few years back. On the surface, it would seem the man had everything the world would aspire to: international fame, lots of money, an adoring public.

But he was sadly tormented inside: a recent TV show he had been part of was canceled; he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; and he felt a great deal of guilt over divorcing his second wife, the mother of two of his children, and marrying again.

All of these things no doubt contributed to the tragic suicide in the summer of 2014 just a few weeks past this man’s 63rd birthday. But perhaps a quote from the comedian provides even more insight.

“I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone,” the man once said. “It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

Was it the feeling of being alone that ultimately pushed this gifted comedian to such a place of despair?

The sense of being alone can lead to terrible consequences. We all intuitively understand this because it’s part of the human condition. Many in our day deal with problematic issues related to feeling alone, and especially so now in the midst of this pandemic that seems to go on and on.

Does the bible have anything to say about this? In Proverbs 18:24, it says something pretty remarkable, that God is actually “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

But here’s the catch. God has made His desire known for a deep, close, satisfying relationship with each of us but He has given us a free will to choose or reject this offer. Sadly many people, perhaps unaware that there is a God in heaven who knows everything about them and loves them, never think about responding to His love.

We learn a lot about God and about ourselves in the book of Genesis, the very first book of the bible. Probably everyone reading this column is familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and how the serpent tempted Eve, ultimately leading to both Eve and Adam partaking of “the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil” that God had forbidden them to eat.

God had warned Adam that if he ate of the fruit he would die. And that’s what happened. Adam and Eve were created in the image of God (as all of us are) and were designed to live forever. But the initial act of sin caused Adam and Eve to die spiritually at first and then years later to die physically.

The act of sin also meant that Adam and Eve were forced out of the Garden where they had previously met regularly with God and walked with Him in the cool of the day. The fellowship with God and man was broken in the Garden of Eden and has remained broken ever since. This was the risk God took when He created us and gave us a free will to accept or reject Him.

The good news is that God has made a way for that fellowship to be restored. Initially, He made provision for man’s sins to be “covered” by the sacrifice of an innocent animal. The animal symbolically would die in the place of the person who had sinned and was guilty. The animal’s blood would “cover” the sin and relieve the guilt. But this was an imperfect sacrifice. It covered man’s guilt but another sacrifice was required when man sinned again.

This animal sacrifice pointed to the sacrifice of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross. Jesus, whose blood was completely pure since He had never sinned, accepted all the sins of man upon Himself and became “guilty” on our behalf. As the “Lamb of God,” He suffered and died in our place and now His shed blood covers the sins of every person who is truly sorry for their sins and cries out to God to be forgiven. It is called repentance.

This is the remedy provided by God to restore the intimate fellowship with man that was broken way back in the Garden of Eden. There is no other remedy.

In the book of Acts it is written that there is no other Name given by which people can be saved but the Name of Jesus. “There is salvation in no one else,” it says in Acts 4:12. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Either that’s true or it’s not. I believe it’s true because when I called out to Jesus to forgive my sins in 1978. He came and changed me from within, just as He promised He would do. He’s there. He’s real. He’s loves us, and more importantly He personally loves you the reader of this column.

As we begin to observe the season of Lent in 2021, it’s good to remember there is a God in heaven who loved us so much that He created us in His image, gave us a free will, and then provided a way through the terrible death of His Son for us to be restored to fellowship with Him again, to know we’re not alone in this world that is often such a painful and broken place.

God’s promise is, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

For those of us who have recognized our own sinfulness and cried out to God to receive us as His children through the sacrifice of Jesus, the promise is that He’ll come to live within us, changing our hearts and make us more like Him. He’ll walk with us through every storm and trial and valley of life, He’ll forgive us when we sin again and ask Him for mercy, and when we die, we’ll have the blessed assurance of going to be where He is in heaven.

He loves us with an everlasting love and wants us to come to Him. And while we’re here, He wants us to know (that) if we have Him in our lives, we’re never alone.