The Sanctification of Being Alone

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.


God does not want us to be alone, which is why He created companionship and why He tells us He is omnipresent. He wants us to know we are not alone. He is always with us. We are never alone (Ps 139:7-12). He is everywhere, which means we are not alone.

Now, the flip side is this: there are plenty of moments in life where we feel or sense being alone. And as much as being alone is not what God wants us to feel or sense, loneliness does have sanctifying elements. God will not waste out loneliness and He doesn’t not want us to waste it either. He wants even those times of solitude to be sanctifying. There are some holy advantages to being alone, as we learn from Psalm 142:

“With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord; I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’ Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.”

 Here are 5 lessons we can learn from Psalm 142. These are 5 benefits to being alone

Being alone reminds us that God hears our prayers (vs. 1-2).

Jesus Himself was known for withdrawing from His disciples, His miracle-working and His preaching to go off by Himself and pray. For David, he found the cave to be a prayer closet. Since he was not around any people, he found that he could lay all our troubled thoughts before the Lord, not before man. God hears prayer. It would seem that we always pray best when we are in the cave – when we are alone.

Being alone reminds us that God knows our path (vs. 3).

With echoes of Psalm 139 here, David expresses that no where can he go where God is not or won’t be with him. Even when his “spirit faints,” he doesn’t have to look far to notice God is there. God alone knows all about David. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” God knows our path because He created our path, He designed our path and there is nothing on our path that He hasn’t already experienced through Jesus Christ. God knows our path.

Being alone reminds us that God feels our pain (vs. 4).

There is no one who wanted to become his friend. Literally, David is saying, “A place of refuge is lost from me; I am without shelter.” David is a “sitting duck.” David has been totally abandoned. No one stood with David – he was alone and seemingly uncared for. No one extends him any kindness. Does God feel our pain? No, he feels everyone’s pains and His Son endured the worst of pain on the cross. Pain is not unfamiliar to God.

Being alone reminds us that God is enough (vs. 5-6).

God is enough for us, which is why loneliness should never be equated with inability or worthlessness. Being alone is a subtle reminder that God is really all we need for life and godliness. That is why you sense no panic from David. This is why you don’t hear him sharing any “uh oh” moments. He is quietly confident because he knows God is enough. God is enough. Too many people just can’t get over this truth or really live by it. So loneliness is something treated by a pill or a prostitute or a tab at the local bar.

Being alone reminds us that God should still be praised (vs. 7).

Being alone is a great excuse to worship God. Some of my sweetest times are times when I withdraw to be alone. I don’t get them as often as I used to given my work situation(s), but since my college days getting away to be alone for refreshment, extra prayer, study, etc. have been vital experience for my spiritual life. J.C Ryle gives this counsel: “We must make time for private meditation, and for being alone with God. It must not content us to pray daily and read the Scriptures, to hear the Gospel regularly and to receive the Lord’s Supper. All this is well. But something more is needed. We should set apart special seasons for solitary self-examination and meditation on the things of God. How often in a year this practice should be attempted each Christian must judge for himself. But that the practice is most desirable seems clear both from Scripture and experience.”[1]

God wants our loneliness to be a holy endeavor. A.W. Tozer once said, “Most of the world’s greatest souls have been lonely. Loneliness seems to be one price the saint must pay for his saintliness.”Loneliness can be a sanctifying experience if you see it as a time for worshipping God without any distractions.

Loneliness can be a sanctifying experience if it is a good reminder to you of the sufficiency of God and His Word. Loneliness can be a sanctifying experience if it gives you the opportunity to recall that Jesus knows our pains and our struggles because He also endured them. Loneliness can be a sanctifying experience.

[1] Expository Thoughts on Gospel of Luke: Volume 1, pg. 127


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