Have you been feeling lonely recently? Do you ever feel misunderstood? Are there times you wonder if there’s anywhere you really belong? If so, consider this: Jesus can relate. Listen as Alicia Bruxvoort and I talk about the True Story of the Lonely Places.
Alicia admits that we can’t escape loneliness. Even in a crowd, or in a marriage, or across the table from a friend, we can still feel lonely. But in our lonely places, we have a choice. We can do what Jesus did in Mark 6:12-16.
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Bible Passage: Luke 5:12-16 NIV
Freebie: Season 1: “The True Stories of Jesus” Bible Readings & Discussion Guide
Music: Cade Popkin Music
Guest: Alicia Bruxvoort
Alicia speaks regularly at women’s events and writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, an online devotional that daily reaches millions of women around the globe with bold hope and biblical truth.
A storyteller at heart, Alicia loves to weave the wonder of scripture with the whimsy of ordinary life and help women connect with Jesus on the pages of His word.
Alicia enjoys hot coffee and soulful stories, but her favorite tale is the one she lives with her husband, Rob, and the kids who gather around their table. Together, they chase Jesus and sunsets in Holland, Michigan.
Find Alicia Bruxvoort:
Know the Story
“The True Story of Lonely Places ” is found in Luke 5:12-16 NIV in your Bible. We’re going to talk through the astonishing story of a man whose skin condition forced him into permanent quarantine, and our Jesus who was willing to close the distance, and touch his diseased skin. We’re also going to spend time talking through how Jesus chose the lonely places, to spend time with his Father.
This feeling of not being seen or known or understood may drive us into the lonely season, we have a choice in that loneliness. We can either survive it, bemoan it, be miserable in it... Or we can do what Jesus did: Choose in. We can pursue our… Click To Tweet
This feeling of not being seen or known or understood may drive us into the lonely season, we have a choice in that loneliness. We can either survive it, bemoan it, be miserable in it… Or we can do what Jesus did: Choose in. We can pursue our heavenly Father in the loneliness.
In this episode I told about the day my son, as a toddler, walked in on a staff meeting at our church, and then said, “Oh, hi, Papa!”
Our God didn’t want their to be distance between us and Him. That’s why he sent Jesus to change things. God wanted us to feel like we can barge in on Him, and say, “Oh, hi Papa God!” He encourages us to call Him Daddy.
Now, I’d be wrong to give the impression that we all get to call God “Daddy”. We don’t start out that way.
Skin Sin Condition
Each of us are born with a condition that causes us to be alienated from God. It’s not a skin condition, it’s a sin condition. From our first newborn cry, our destiny is death and separation from God. But out of his loving kindness and mercy, God sent his Son Jesus, to pay our penalty on the cross, and heal our disease of sin so that we could be reunited with God. Our Father wanted for us to be brought near. (See Col. 1:13-14, Rom. 5:18-21, and Col. 2:13-15.)
This is my story, and I hope it’s yours as well. But Jesus’s story was different.
Jesus was never relationally separated from the Father. In heaven, he knew complete, satisfying communion with God the Father and God the Spirit. Colossians 1:16 says that all things were created through Jesus. And all things were created for Jesus. He’s the king. He will one day return and dwell with his people, here on earth, and reign forever (Rev. 22:1-5). That’s Jesus’s unfolding story.
Yet, when He—the King of Kings—came here to live among us, he had no place to lay his head (Mat. 8:20). He was extremely misunderstood. His own people didn’t receive him (John 1:11). Instead they rejected him. The very ones who were supposed to be watching for him chose to reject Jesus and give him the death sentence (Mark 8:31).
Jon Bloom says, “In some sense, [Jesus] may have been the loneliest human in history.”
Sharing the Story of a Lonely Jesus
So does Jesus understand what it feels like to be misunderstood and rejected? Does Jesus understand loneliness? Yes, he does. His whole reason for coming was so that we—the ones who were far off and alienated—might be brought near to the One who knows us fully (Col. 1:21-23 and Heb. 4:14-16).
Now, it’s true that Jesus’s loneliness far exceeded anything we could possibly understand. But there are plenty of people around us who are lonely in ways that we do understand.
How might you encourage a lonely person with one of these true stories of Jesus, from season one? Be thinking of one person you might share one of these true stories with. A true story about the Jesus who understands their loneliness, and who draws near.
So, here’s the deal. I know it’s not always comfortable to share these true stories with other people. That’s why I want you to hear from Alicia Bruxvoort on how to get started. Don’t miss the midroll of episode six!
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LIVE the Story
How can we live like this story is true? Here are several ways:
- The leper didn’t choose his isolating circumstance; it was unavoidable. My loneliness might be unavoidable, too, but I still have a choice. Will I seek out Jesus figuratively, the way the leper did in person?
- Jesus was unconcerned about the clean/unclean rules, and touched the man who had been forced into isolation. How can I live like it’s true that Jesus will never keep his distance from me?
- Jesus told the man not to tell others about the skin miracle, but word spread anyway. The public misunderstood who Jesus was because they were so focused on what he could do for them—which added to Jesus’s loneliness. There’s a loneliness to word spreading. So, if I say, “No one understand how it feels to be so misunderstood,” I’m not living like this story is true, because Jesus does understand. More than anyone, he knows what it feels like to be misunderstood, because he was misunderstood by everyone.
- Jesus did tell the leper to go to the temple. He wanted for the religious leaders to hear about the miracle, and realize, “2+2= the Messiah has come! Who else could it be? Yet even they even they—the ones who were supposed to be lookout for the Messiah—misunderstood and wrongly rejected him. Jesus understands what it’s like to be misjudged and pushed out. Am I living like this is true?
- Alicia talked about not just being seen, but being known. And we see this as one of the reasons that, “Jesus often withdrew to the lonely places.” Like Jesus, it’s in the lonely places that I have access to the One who knows me best. Am I living like this is true? How can I “choose in” in the lonely spaces, where I can spend time with God?
- It would seem laughable for Jesus to turn to the disciples and say, “I need you guys to fill this ache of loneliness inside me,” when in reality He had access to the Father. But isn’t that my reality as well? Am I living like it’s true that I’m never alone?
I think one of the loneliest feelings is to feel misunderstood. Loneliness happens not just when we are isolated, but when we are in places and situations where people just can't go. - @AliciaBruxvoort Click To Tweet
I think one of the loneliest feelings is to feel misunderstood. Loneliness happens not just when we are isolated, but when we are in places and situations where people just can’t go.
Can You Help?
Thanks so much for listening! Did you enjoy this episode? What ideas ideas do you have for future episodes or future guests? I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me here.
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Season One Bible Readings
Throughout season one, we’re discussing the True Stories of Jesus. At the end of each episode, I’m inviting you to open your Bible and read the story for yourself.
Sign up HERE for your Season One Bible Reading & Discussion Guide. This Freebie includes all of the True Stories of Jesus that we’ll be talking through during season one, plus some ways for you to think through what each story reveals about Jesus and how to live like the story is true! Designed for you to use
- The True Story in the Wilderness
- The True Story on Fear
- The True Story of the Lonely Places
As a bonus, you’ll also get a set of my “True Story” two-page studies, including:
- The True Story of Jonah
- The True Story of Rahab
- The True Story on Mt. Caramel