I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind hanging out by myself. In fact, every once in a while I relish an evening with me, a good book, and a comfy couch. However, although there are people who like being alone, I’ve yet to meet anyone who likes being lonely. Being alone is a choice, being lonely is abandonment.
Throughout Scripture there are people who knew what is was to be abandoned by others. Their allies, their friends and sometimes even their families left them high and dry. Joseph is one such example of this. Going to visit his brothers in the field, they capture him, put him in a well, and then sell him into slavery. As confident as Joseph appears to be, this had to be devastating. There are few worse affronts than to be abandoned by your flesh and blood, to be sold by those who should protect you.
Scripture gives us a different perspective on this event. Psalm 105:17 says that God sent Joseph on ahead. It’s an unconventional way to look at it, because it would be tempting to think that God wasn’t in these events at all. That this was the result of angry and jealous brothers. But not only did God use the events, He was purposeful with the timing, sending Joseph before the famine would strike his family.
It had to be lonely for Joseph. He was sent to a foreign country, wrongly accused of a crime, and sent to prison where promises of advocacy were broken. It might have seemed like he was abandoned but God hadn’t left. Joseph was simply His advance party. God sent him out in front of the rest so that Joseph might help save a nation, and those Joseph loved.
So when we are feeling abandoned, like there is no one walking with us, let us consider whether God is sending us out ahead of the crowd to be part of what He is preparing for His children. If He is, we can have confidence that the difficult times will be used for something good. And let us remember that even when we are by ourselves, His children are never alone.
If we know that God’s children are never alone, how will this change our perspective on feeling abandoned? Who do you know that God “sent on ahead” and used for His purposes?