Who Can I Turn To?

  • Sept. 29, 2017
  • #9240

When feeling lonely and isolated, remember you are not alone because God promises He will never leave or forsake you.

Broken Glass

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I can struggle with lonely feelings.

Now I know what you’re thinking: You? Is this the same Joni who’s always talking about her friends and how fulfilled in life she is? Look, of course it’s the same me. But sometimes—not always, on rare occasions—I really wrestle with lonely feelings. Like when I'm at a social gathering in someone’s home, in this wheelchair? I either find myself blocking everyone’s access to the bathroom, or I accidentally hit the corner of the table at dinner and cause glasses to spill their contents, water everywhere. Everybody makes light of it and they’ll say to me, “Oh Joni, don’t worry about it.” And if I'm walking in the Spirit of the day rather than feeding my flesh, I'll agree, no problem. I'll even laugh about it with the rest, and I will move on. But if I'm having a day where my focus is too much on myself, I get embarrassed. I feel stupid. I apologize too many times, and when I do, I can just feel this glass wall appear between myself and everyone else at the party. I’ll sit there. I’ll make light conversation with whoever’s next to me, and try to stay out of everyone’s way. And the glass wall can make for very lonely feelings.

But you know what? Those are (as I said) very rare times. Long ago when I was feeling super insecure about being out in public in my wheelchair, oh my goodness, that glass wall felt like a foot thick. My wheelchair made me feel so different from everyone else. But finally, I got tired of feeling cut off and isolated. I knew it was my problem and no one else’s. And so I searched in the Bible for ways I could, I don’t know, just shatter that glass wall. And one of the first verses I found, one that really helped, was Hebrews Chapter 13, verse 5 where, "God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'." That's a promise from the lips of Jesus himself. He is especially near to people who feel isolated. “You are not alone,” God tells them. “I am with you, and I won’t leave you by yourself.” And then Psalm 10, verse 17 assures us, "You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry." I read that and I bowed my head in prayer and asked God to fill my void. I asked His Spirit to help me remember those verses when I did, I don't know, stupid, clunky things with my wheelchair; when I felt I was behind that glass wall.

So now when I bang into someone’s dining table or accidentally run over someone’s foot at a party, I'll do everything I can to make things right, to ask forgiveness, and move on. In fact, to move on and find someone at the gathering who looks like they are sitting (for whatever reason) behind their own glass wall.

If God is with you, you can go anywhere and talk to anybody. For as we cultivate an intimacy with Him, we will not only realize we are never alone, but we will see we can reach out to others who are more in need. Nothing fills the void quite like getting the focus off you and onto God and then on someone else in greater distress. To help you do that, I have wrote a booklet on this very issue, and it’s called “No Longer Alone.” It takes you through specific steps that’ll help you get your focus off yourself and on to others, and to do it in such a way that you glorify God and grow spiritually. So please, let me send you your free copy. Just go to joniandfriends.org/radio and ask for your gift called, “No Longer Alone.” Because the glass walls are pretty thick. Yet God alone is your rock and salvation, no matter what sticky problem you find yourself in or what glass wall you find yourself behind.

© Joni and Friends

 

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