Under the covers, safe in my bed, I found it hard to sleep. The doors were locked, the lights turned off, and my roommate was away for several days. I had the house all to myself. For most of my adult life, this freedom would have been received joyfully. Yet, on the heels of tremendous loss, being alone at night had become a nightmare. I was a grown woman and I was afraid to be at home alone in the dark. I didn’t need someone next to me; I just needed the reassurance that someone else was in the house. The issue wasn’t as much about the darkness as it was about feeling completely and utterly alone. The night would remind me of the pain, of what I no longer had. The night’s reminders felt convincing enough: “See, Joy, it’s true. You are all alone.”
When I would try to sit before the Lord, it was difficult to hear anything. This “dark night of the soul,” as some would call it, was very, very dark. I kept going because that was all I could do. Slowly but surely, I began to hear in my heart the scripture:
“Never will I leave you or forsake you.”
It was only somewhat reassuring at first. Words that used to bring warm fuzzies to my heart seemed closer to an empty promise. Could I really count on God if He’d allowed all this loss to happen? The darkness of being alone felt stronger than these comforting words. This stormy season showed me that parts of my foundation were not “on the rock” (Matt. 7:25). Yet, I began to notice his “never will I leave you” ways pursuing me, restoring my foundation. I couldn’t deny how He was taking care of me in a manner beyond my control. He was there, even in the pain. Life and Jesus taught me that no matter what changed, I could never be alone because He was always there. Often it takes painful circumstances to let this truth settle deep into our hearts. It is a slow, often subtle, work to believe this truth to the core of our being. It’s easy to believe when we have what we want. It’s harder to believe when we don’t. When our foundation is on the rock, life’s circumstances won’t determine our ability to believe His words. Thanks to this painful season, I know more than ever before that I am not alone.
Neither are you, my friend, neither are you.