There was a buzz in the air as people found their seats and wondered and speculated about the giant spaceship looking thing that seemed to form the stage. I was there with my husband and two grown children to witness, in person, the one and only U2 in concert. Certainly an enviable ticket. You could almost feel the electric current pass among the 60,000 fans all anticipating the event to come.
My kids had led the way in followed by my husband, then me. Not a word passed between my husband and me before the concert. His back was turned toward me as he engaged my kids in excited conversation. Unbeknownst to me, it was merely weeks until my husband would leave.
The lights lowered and the spaceship came alive with lights. "It's A Beautiful Day" rang out in the crisp night air. I could see the stars and the thousands of waving cell phones. I bit my lip and in the darkness tears burned down my cheeks. Here in this crowd of 60,000 people, I had never felt so alone in all my life.
Why do crowded places breed loneliness? I often, if I'm going to feel lonely, feel lonely in crowds.
I believe that in crowds we realize that we are not connected. When there is a disconnect between us and God, or a disconnect between us and others, loneliness sets in. A crowd is just a blatant reminder that something is amiss.
Does God allow loneliness to find us so that we will seek Him? Perhaps so...
David, in the Bible, was no stranger to loneliness. Read Psalm 38:9-15. David cries out with his longings and laments that his friends and companions avoid him.
God, however never avoids us or forsakes us...even in our loneliness.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Jesus was also no stranger to loneliness when his close friends fell asleep on him and he was all alone in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus stood by himself in a crowd as people jeered and mocked him, tortured him and sent him to his death...alone.
But, thankfully, God is loving and compassionate and true to all his promises.
I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. (John 14:18)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
I have found that it is often at my loneliest points - when my heart cries out to God that He is faithful and draws near. He IS the great Comforter and He IS the God who sees (El-Roi)!
He held my hand that night, there in the massive crowd. The tears didn't stop, but my Father was counting and catching them. If you are in a lonely place, His promises are true for you! Know that you are loved...
ps. I continue to pray, both morning and evening, for all who read my blog. Praying especially for you if you are feeling lonely. You are not alone. You are loved...