Traveling Light is a study in the 23rd Psalm. In it he devotes a whole chapter to one short phrase:
"You are with me." (Ps 23:4, NIV)
He focuses on the importance of solitude, and indeed loneliness, in developing our relationship with God.
When You're Lonely
The thing about loneliness is that it is not the same as aloneness. It is possible to be at the heart of a great throng of people and still feel lonely. Equally, being alone does not necessarily make one lonely. It's how we handle being alone that is important.
We live in a world where we never have to experience silence, even when we're alone. There's radio, TV, computers and MP3 players. We can have voices, music or just plain noise in the background all the while. It can fill the empty spaces as we travel alone in our car; it can provide company when we're on our own at home; we can take preaching with us as we exercise.
Filling The Empty Space
But does all this help us when we feel lonely? Or are we simply filling the silence, trying to replace our lack of relationship with something that can never truly meet our needs. I wonder sometimes how much of this noise we create simply so that we don't have to listen to God's whisper. Max Lucado says this,
"A friend turns away. The job goes bad. Your spouse doesn't understand. The church is dull. One by one He removes the options until all you have left is God. He would do that? Absolutely. 'The Lord disciplines those He loves' (Heb 12:6). If He must silence every voice, He will. He wants you to hear His music. He wants you to discover what David discovered and to be able to say what David said. 'You are with me.' Yes, You, Lord, are in heaven. Yes, You rule the universe. Yes, You sit upon the stars and make your home in the deep. But yes, yes, yes, You are with me. The Lord is with me. The Creator is with me. Yahweh is with me."
Prayer College Assignment
If you find yourself in a solitary or lonely place without the comfort you need, don't rail or rebel against it. Instead seek God with all your heart until you too can say with David, "You are with me."