Lent Devotion – The Way Through Loneliness

Published March 14, 2024 by Caleb Rosenblad

​On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, He was abandoned by His disciples. The Shepherd was struck, and the sheep ran. The women remained; they could only watch as He was subjected to utter atrocities. Even as Jesus hung upon the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” The ultimate hour of loneliness: not even God would look upon His face. We often embellish the scars, the nails, and the sins. But what of this deep isolation?

​I moved to Houston in the summer of 2022 for graduate school. I wanted to be a part of something much larger than myself: advancing healthcare through biomedical research. However, I quickly realized that many scientists are not members of faith, nor do they think life is meaningful. I found myself a part of many conversations where I was uncomfortable, where I was the odd man out. A colleague told me, “I refuse to believe there’s one good Christian man out there.” Fear caused me to hide my light under a bushel. Being afraid to talk about who I am in light of Jesus put me in a self-induced isolation.  

Not to mention, I was in a new place! Transitioning from college (where I had lots of friends) to adulthood in a new city (where everyone has jobs and families) left me feeling alone. I did not have a place to fellowship or to speak my mind among friends. To be a part of a community is a human need. I would go to my apartment each night and wonder why I chose to move here. Did I make a mistake? Did I misunderstand God? Why did He bring me here just to forsake me? 

The cry of Jesus upon the cross reminds me that Christ has tread this path of loneliness before. He understands it existentially. What if my loneliest hours are when I see the crucified God clearest? In loneliness, I can hear His chilling cry from the cross. I will not quelch loneliness by surrounding myself with people who echo me. The way through loneliness begins with the recognition that Christ is crying out with me.

When Christ cried out with me, He did not leave me in isolation. Jesus went all the way into isolation so that I did not have to remain there. He fostered important relationships for me at South Main, notably Toni Richerson. She reminded me of the importance of vocation (and potentially set me on a career path). Michael Raimer-Goodman provided me with practical advice for forming relationships in adulthood. These and many others demonstrated that in my loneliest hours, Christ is there and closer than any friend. He may be silent, but He is always walking beside us along the lonely way.