Isolation: A True Christian’s Struggle And Jeremiah’s Example
Isolation and lonliness is a common feeling that many Christians face. There is a rejection from the world and even lukewarm church going people that comes with the price of following Christ. The Christian cannot go out and do all of the things that everyone else does. His only pleasure should be the Lord. All things in life should point towards God and all pleasure is from God. Yet, why do Christians from time to time feel so much pain? Is it acceptable to be depressed and full of sadness? Is it acceptable to feel frustration and anger? YES! Just read the book of Jeremiah in the Bible!
Jeremiah is one of the greatest examples of sacrifice for God. Jeremiah was much of his life full of depression and pain. He was a prophet appointed at a young age to be the mouth that would speak the Words of the Lord against a rebellious and unbelieving nation of Israel and Judah. He was to pronounce judgment on Israel and the impending doom and despair that Babylon was about to bring. This message was not popular with the society of Jeremiah’s time. In fact Jeremiah was mocked, plotted against, beat up and put in stockades, thrown into a pit to die, and more. He was constantly ridiculed and his own family even rejected Him (12:6). He was alone with no one, but God. Only one scribe named Baruch was with him and wrote down all of Jeremiah’s prophecies. At times Jeremiah even thought God had left Him alone. But this was not so.
Jeremiah is quoted as saying “Why has my pain become unending, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? You truly have become a mirage to me—- water that is not reliable” (15:18). Jeremiah even sinned with self pity in his grief and lost faith as he lamented, “Cursed be the day I was born. The day my mother bore me—let it never be blessed” (20:14). He even went so far as to wish he died in his mother’s womb.
No matter what, the Word of God was constantly on His tongue and could not be supressed. In chapter 20 verses 8-9 he says, “…because the word of the LORD has become for me constant disgrace and derision. If I say: I won’t mention Him or speak any longer in His name, His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and cannot prevail.”
For the true Christian much suffering and pain will be endured as the world completely hates Christ. “And you will be hated by everyone because of my name” (Matthew 10:22). “In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). People will decieve and betray the Christian and reject Him. Friends will no longer be friends. In chapter 20 verse 10, Jeremiah discusses this very issue when he says, “For I have heard the gossip of the mutlitudes, ‘Terror is on every side! Report him; let’s report him!’ Everyone I trusted watches for my fall. ‘Perhaps he will be decieved so that we might prevail against him and take our vengence upon him.'” Everyone hated Jeremiah and he really had no true friends. Relationships were really out of the question. He was not even allowed the comfort of a woman and family as God commanded him not to marry anyone inside the land (16:2).
Jeremiah still had hope and knew God was with him and would avenge him against his persecutors. “But the LORD is with me like a violent warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed, an everlasting humiliation that will never be forgotten” (20:11). The Christian should not worry because God will bring His wrath on unbelievers, and people who continue rejecting Christ will be destroyed. They will be an everlasting humiliation in Hell. These people are the enemies of God: the apostates, the heretics, the false prophets, false teachers, and lukewarm false “christians” with no compassion for others or concern with God.
If you feel alone and are wondering what God is doing with you just be patient. The fact you are suffering for God is an honor and you will recieve a great reward, and God has great plans to use you. God is refining you and testing you through trials in order to purify you and make you more like Him. Possibly as in the case of Job, God could be contending with Satan about your spiritual state and using you as an example to bring Him glory. Rejoice in the Lord even in pain and misery!
Jeremiah is one of the greatest men of the Bible that should be admired. His missionary task was not simply to save souls, but was to bring the unpopular message of punishment for sins, and for evil men to repent and be saved. Since these stubborn people would not repent, Jeremiah was in effect bringing condemnation against them. God used Jeremiah to bring judgment and severe wrath in punishment on people, not to save them because of their stubborness in sin. Sometimes God works in ways most missionary organizations and churches do not understand because they have forgotten the full Bible’s message that while God saves through Christ, those that reject it will go to Hell and serve their eternal punishment. Do not give up and persevere! Know greater men of faith had it worse than you! And many others are suffering in different parts of the world in different ways for the cause of Christ! Stay strong! Remember what it says in Romans 8:18,
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed in us.”
The worst part is isolation and lonliness. This is something I have felt for many years and dealt with. This soon will pass and eventually you will be in heaven with God in the future anyway. Take the time of isolation and use it to study the Word of God and know God more intimately. Truly, you really have no one else but God. There is no one who will love you or care for you but God. God is all you have.