Lonesome: Depressed or sad because of a lack of companionship; separate, apart, isolated from others. There are varying degrees of loneliness - even though people are surrounded by other people, it is quite possibly one of the most "alone" times of their lives. The presence of people never guarantees the lifting of the spirit, but the presence of God in your life does!
And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; they wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view! (Psalm 84:5-7 MSG)
The ideas laid out in our passage today are multi-faceted, but there are a few I'd like to explore this morning:
- If God lives IN a man, there is a sense of blessing, of happiness and awareness of the deep fortune one has in being inhabited by the Lord of the Universe. Our psalmist doesn't refer to us living IN God, but rather God living IN us. The description of being lives where God travels with great frequency really bespeaks the continual passage of God through our lives. My morning times are often filled with God's fresh "passage" in my life. I see the evidence of his "traveling" as I take time to ponder and consider the things he says, the elements of scripture he gives for me to chew upon. I think we sometimes get the idea we do all the "travelling" TO God and forget he is the one who is doing the "travelling" IN us. It is this passage of his presence which brings joy where only despair existed, freedom where bondage persisted.
- Together, lonesome valleys are traveled. I don't want us to miss this - God lives in us, he passes through our lives with such frequency so as to know well the "routes" he will travel, and he knows the "lonesome valleys" of our soul. He travels with us through those lonesome places. I never really thought much about God being with me in the most lonesome places of my life, but when I stopped to consider this truth, I realized how many times he was right there in my "isolation". In fact, my place of "isolation" from others seemed to be the very place where his presence became more evident in my life. I think we sometimes "feel" the agony of lonesome places, but forget we did not travel there alone - God is right there with us - this is a road he frequents quite often in us. Every time we end up at the end of "lonesome avenue", we are never alone - he is there.
- Brooks, cool springs, pools brimming with rain - all are discovered as he travels the roads of our lives. All bespeak refreshing and cleansing. It is in the brook we find fresh water flowing. Brooks are natural places of flowing water - no stagnancy, no real effort of anyone to produce the water, it is just there. Cool springs are kind of the same - they have a source arising from parts we cannot see, but we know they have a good source because what is produced is awesomely refreshing. Pools brimming with rain are really dependent upon what comes in the season of rain. No rain, no pool. Yet, the rains pool because the conditions of the soil are such so as to allow the collection of that which will bring refreshing as it soaks into the parched places. All speak of refreshing - some rising from sources we cannot see, but they produce exactly what we need in the moment; others coming from sources we can see, but which bring refreshment long after they are gone.
- All roads lead upward. In our loneliest times, we seldom feel like looking upward, but if God is "driving" the roads may twist and turn, but they all lead us upward! They begin in his presence, they end in his presence - they are traveled in his presence. Nothing short of God's passage in our lives will bring us to the place where we behold his glory.
So, we might be dry, feeling kind of alone and isolated, but if God is IN us, we don't travel this road alone. We have a companion who knows exactly how to connect us with the sources of refreshment we need and will ultimately bring us to the place high above our worries of the present day. Just sayin!