The current scheduled post falls on a Sunday, and that means it’s a “Spiritual Sunday” post. I’ve invited my friend; retired pastor Dr. Calvin Metcalf to offer something enlightening. I think this is a message a lot of us can use right now.
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There is a lonely place to which hurting people sometimes go. It is called “withdrawal.” They go thinking they have found a safe haven from their woes. They wrap themselves in an emotional cocoon as a cushion against their pain. They internalize their grief and often get locked into a rut of only one way of thinking. Their imaginations play tricks on them as they lose touch with reality. Many times withdrawal causes folk to lash out at those who love them most and could care for them best. It is not easy dealing with life’s complications, but retreating within oneself does not make it easier. People who turn inward to lick their own wounds have a limited source of healing.
Living with loneliness is a pain our Lord does not wish us to have. His invitation in times of despair is quite obvious. His friendship is as close to us as our ability to pray and seek His face. His word becomes our comfort, His presence becomes our strength, and His promises become our hope.
Whenever we tend to withdraw He wants to share our inner feelings. He wants to correct and caress our awkward thoughts. Because He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, He understands the deepest wounds of our broken hearts. If we invite Him into the secret hideaway of our souls, He will help us keep our perspective. He will not remove the possibility of pain, but He will guide us through its adventure.
Of course, there is value in withdrawal if we understand the dynamics of our loneliness. Being alone can give us time to sort through our thoughts. It can give us a humble and contrite heart. The silence of our soul is a time for God to speak to us. On several occasions Jesus had to withdraw from the crowds in order to have time with God the Father. It was a constructive retreat from public scrutiny and the clamoring demands upon His time. He came back with renewed energy for His messianic assignments.
Our Lord is a good model of mixing our public and private needs. We must never get so public that we lose our depth of concentration. Neither should we become so private that loneliness conquers our happiness. May our symptoms of withdrawal be occasions for hearing His still small voice because He is the Lord of our inner sanctum and the salvation within our secret hideaway.