What does it mean to be lonely for God?
In our activity-crazed world, we run from one “important” task to the next. Much of what we do as women is expected of us and sometimes, these are tasks we enjoy. We love making just the right kind of frosting for our child’s birthday cake. We enjoy teaching Bible studies and leading the MOPS group. We find our fulfillment in serving God and others. We pat ourselves on the back at the end of a long day and hope to hear the divine whisper, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Then our souls answer back, “But I miss you, Abba Father. I am lonely for you.”
When my son was young, he often brought me drawings that represented his world: horses with really short legs, bugs with really long legs or squiggles that only he could interpret. I always gushed over his drawings, posted them on the fridge and sent copies to the grandmothers. I loved whatever my son drew, and I complimented him on the things he produced each day.
But my favorite time was at night when he climbed on my lap with a book and wanted me to read him a story. His hair smelled fresh of baby shampoo, his body heat warmed my lap, his blue eyes sparkled with excitement. It didn’t matter which book we chose or how many times we read the same book. What mattered was our time together – our closeness and the love of story that we shared. That together time filled a place inside each of us.
That’s what happens when we address our loneliness for God. Sure, he is proud of all the things we do and he’s glad for each avenue where we use our gifts. He’s excited that we share our successes with him, and he posts our drawings or our words into the hearts of others.
But I think his favorite time is when we climb into his lap, call him Abba Daddy and ask him to tell us a story. In that closeness, we feel his warmth and the unconditional love he shares. We feel safe, and he values our trust. In those moments, we know he will never abandon us because his arms are locked around us. He fills our lonely hearts, and we fill his.
When Jesus struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane, he didn’t ask his disciples to write a Bible study or feed another five thousand Jews. He only wanted them to be with him, to be his friends – his children, to soothe his troubled heart. He just wanted them to stay awake and fill his lonely hours with their companionship.
Maybe we need to do the same – to cross some things off our to-do lists and exchange them for a walk with the Savior, to climb into his lap without an agenda or a prayer list, to just be – with God.