Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Filey Parish: Blogging For Lent- Never Alone

Everyone has days when they hardly see anyone, especially as they get older. Some people allow this to happen and seem to prefer their own company, but even they occasionally need some kind of contact with others if they are to remain mentally well and socially capable. We are all social creatures and need the stimuli of those around us to prevent us from becoming too introspective. It is in others that we often find our true purpose in life, whether it’s wanting to spend time with our families and friends, pleasing our boss, or serving and caring for those around us. We are meant to interact together. So if we find ourselves isolated from the world, whether self-inflicted or just through circumstances, it doesn’t take long for our mental well being to begin to suffer. We often become lethargic and depressed as our thoughts start to dwell on the negative aspects of our lives. With no-one else to think about, we worry about ourselves and our predicament; our self-esteem takes a dive and we start to shun the very people who might be able to help us. Our loneliness feeds this process and a downward spiral begins.
Jesus would have had to fight this tendency during the 40 days he was isolated and alone. He was fully human and was not immune to every kind of human need, including companionship. It is true that he was an exceptional person and mentally stronger than most, but such a long period of isolation would certainly have tested him in this respect, quite apart from what the Devil was putting him through. The encouraging thing is that he got through it (And aren’t we glad for that!), not by his own human strength, but by seeking the will of his Father and trusting in it. In other words, he was not alone! The closeness of his relationship with God meant that he had the very best company to draw comfort and strength and guidance from. We know that his prayers were not always easy; he still struggled just like we do, but the most important thing was that his thoughts were not focused on himself and that, I’m sure, was how he got through it.
So when we find ourselves in our own desert places, we need to look to Jesus and know that he was there before us, and is still there with us, and that we are really never truly alone.

2 comments:

  1. A most helpful blog explaining the mechanics of loneliness and advice on overcoming it.

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  2. Has it ever occurred to anyone to wonder WHY Jesus might have gone into the winderness for his 40 days? Yes, I know the Bible says he was driven by the Spirit, but, WHY? This question has not come to me before this year. My suggestion is that, as a relatively young man, who had the limited experience (we assume) of life in Nazareth with the occasional trip to Jerusalem, he needed a bit of "hardening off" - to use a gardening term. He needed to know that he could survive his mission, and that he could overcome the trials of the devil not only during these 40 days but as his mission developed. He also needed to learn more about his inner resources and how they were fed by his heavenly father. A time of learning and growing up? All pure speculation of course .... what do others think?

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