In this third post of the ABIDING DELIGHT series, Kayla found such deep peace right in the center of loneliness. Pursuing Jesus gave her joy! Let her story comfort your heart, let it inspire you to seek the satisfying companionship of Christ…
I know what it’s like to be lonely. I know what it’s like to be desperate for friends, but no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to stick. I’ve been in long seasons of loneliness, I’ve been in seasons where I shouldn’t be lonely but I am, and everything in between.
When I went off to college, I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to make friends. See, Christian community had been huge in high school for me (and, in fact, was a major player in the start of my personal relationship with Jesus), and I knew that finding those friends had been a total God thing. So, I went off to college praying He would do the same thing again.
Fast forward a semester, and I’m still alone. I have acquaintances here and there, but I don’t have any real friendships. The first semester (and part of the second semester) was rough, guys. I kept praying, kept crying to God, asking Him, “Why? Why haven’t You given me friends? Why are You doing this to me? I don’t understand.”
But, see, God answers prayers in mysterious ways. Sometimes a “no” can be the most beautiful “yes.”
I know that sounds strange, but hear me out.
At some point towards the beginning of my first semester, my roommate and I were talking. She told me about a period of loneliness she went through in high school and how, even though it was awful, she was okay because she had Jesus as a best friend.
And let me tell you. That concept just shook me.
Of course, I knew that Jesus was there for us, that He is always there and always will be there. But I didn’t know, beyond saying the words, how to truly delight in Him so much that He truly felt like a best friend.
So, with this concept now rattling around in my mind, I continued forth into the semester. I didn’t have a playbook for how to live like Jesus was my sweetest friend, but God has a way of using our circumstances in life to teach us things.
Because I was so lonely, and because I had this idea that I wanted to put into action, I started turning to the Bible when things got rough. I felt lonely? I opened the Bible. I had a large chunk of time in the middle of my day in between classes? I opened the Bible. I started turning to it in all sorts of circumstances: when I felt down, when I was bored, when I was struggling with anything and everything.
In short, the Bible became my rock.
Before I knew it, I was truly delighting in God’s Word, wanting to turn to it even beyond my designated “quiet time,” and pretty soon, the edge was taken off of the pain that loneliness brought into my life.
I hate to admit it, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have reached that point if I hadn’t practically hit rock bottom. I was in a place in life where I truly needed Jesus. But I guess that’s part of the beauty of the cross. God knew we were stuck in a rut and that we couldn’t dig ourselves out. He saw us at rock bottom, and He came down to meet us there. He willingly bore the burdens that should have been ours, all so He could lift us up out of the darkness and into His light.
Isn’t that just awesome?
See, God knew what He was doing when He didn’t answer my prayers for close friendships. That “no” was God’s way of showing me that I already had the close connection that I was longing for. In fact, I had the closest connection that it’s possible to have!
I had Jesus, standing right beside me all along, whispering to me, holding out His hand, begging me to run into His arms.
And in order for me to truly realize that and to learn to delight in that beautiful notion, I needed to be stripped of everything that could distract me from God.
Now that I finally realize that Jesus is the only who can satisfy my heart’s desires, I can have joy infinite. I can finally receive a peace so serene that nothing can shake it. I am finally fully satisfied. I can rejoice and delight in the King of the universe, with nothing holding me back.
Because I have everything that I need. I have the best friend I could ever ask for. So that, even in seasons of the harshest loneliness, I can rejoice.
Kayla Johansen is an eighteen-year-old college student saved by Jesus Christ. Ever the word-lover, she spends her time reading and writing everything from fanfiction to young adult novels. Her ultimate goal is to honor Jesus not only in her (eventual) career but also in all her day-to-day decisions. Connect with her at her blog, This Little Lamb, and on Twitter.