Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.”
Many runners prefer running with a group. Some won’t budge without their best running buddy. Don’t misunderstand. We all need the accountability and motivation other runners contribute. And there’s nothing better in the world than having a best friend who runs your exact pace and rises early with you, encouraging you from start to finish. Experts recommend it.
But sometimes you’ll have to run alone.
Yikes! But I can’t. It’s boring. I can’t do it without someone beside me.
Ever hear yourself spouting off these words? Sometimes life brings uncontrollable circumstances. Sometimes our perfectly laid out buddy-running plan goes awry. Others will let us down when we least expect it.
Snow and ice prevent us from meeting our group at the park. Your running buddy hates rain and doesn’t show up. Your running group leaves you behind while you attend to a sick child at home. Whatever the circumstances, you’re left with a decision. Either run alone or don’t run at all. Running alone might mean wiping the dust off your treadmill in the basement. It might mean running at the park solo in the rain. Maybe you run in the blazing heat instead of the cool morning.
This is where the rubber hits the road. Just how serious are you to stay on track? How far will you go to be prepared? Yes. Sometimes you simply have to run alone. Without the chatter of others around you. Without the listening ear of your best friend.
Christ followers must sometimes make a similar decision. Sometimes we have to walk part of the journey alone. Now of course we aren’t really alone. We know Jesus never leaves us. The Holy Spirit continually guides us. But sometimes we don’t have other people walking with us. Maybe you’ve said the following: I’m not going to church unless she goes with me. I’m not going to that Bible study unless my friends go with me. I can’t do that by myself.
But the reality is that sometimes things happen beyond our control. Your friend drops out of church for a while. Your work schedule is changed, keeping you from continuing your small group bible study. You get seriously sick for a season and can’t physically get to church. Whatever the case may be, you have to decide.
Will you keep embracing Jesus even if you have to walk some steps alone?
Walking alone might mean opening up your Bible by yourself at the coffee shop. Perhaps you embrace solitude for a season until you find another small group. It might mean you have an extended season of quiet searching while you heal from a sickness.
God called Moses on a solo journey for 40 days—away from the crowd. Daniel knew what it felt like to walk alone. When he resolved to keep praying no matter what the law said, he ended up in the lion’s den by himself. David faced Goliath alone while the entire Israelite army cowered in fear. Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah would’ve made great running buddies, but God called each to walk alone, proclaiming the truth.
Jesus modeled for us what it means to walk alone. Crowds traveled with him. The twelve disciples followed him. John remained faithful to him. But multiple times he got up early while it was still dark and went out alone to pray. Even when he pleaded with his closest friends to pray with him, they let him down. Yet he still showed up and fulfilled his purpose!
READY? Can you identify a season in your life when you had to walk alone? How did this affect your faith? What are some blessings in disguise that come from sometimes walking alone? If you’re in one of those seasons now, admit your fears and worries and lay them at the feet of Jesus.
GET SET. Exodus 24:2 “Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near.”
GO! Heavenly Father, I thank you for the promise that you’ll never leave me or forsake me. Help my faith to grow strong and go deep when I must walk parts of my life journey alone. I trust you to bring others into my life for support and encouragement at the right time. Amen