Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Someone thanked me for sharing my struggles with them yesterday, and stated that it was just good to know that they were not alone in the battles of life.  I read this morning of how David Brainerd struggled with loneliness, and I thought that some of you might be encouraged to know that some of the great heroes of faith have struggled with your enemy.  John Piper relates Brainerd's struggle here.

He tells of having to endure the profane talk of two strangers one night in April, 1743 and says, "Oh, I longed that some dear Christian knew my distress (p. 204)!" A month later he says, "Most of the talk I hear is either Highland Scotch or Indian. I have no fellow Christian to whom I might unbosom myself and lay open my spiritual sorrows, and with whom I might take sweet counsel in conversation about heavenly things, and join in social prayer." (p. 207) This misery made him sometimes shrink back from going off on another venture. Tuesday, May 8, 1744. "My hear sometimes was ready to sink with the thoughts of my work, and going alone in the wilderness, I knew not where (p. 248)."

In December, 1745 he wrote a letter to his friend Eleazar Wheelock and said, "I doubt not by that time you have read my journal through you'll be more sensible of the need I stand in of a companion in travel than ever you was before (p. 584)." But he didn't just want any kind of person of course. He wanted a soul companion. Many of us can empathize with him when he says, "There are many with whom I can talk about religion: but alas, I find few with whom I can talk religion itself: But, blessed be the Lord, there are some that love to feed on the kernel rather than the shell (p. 292)."

But Brainerd was alone in his ministry to the end. The last 19 weeks of his life Jerusha Edwards, Jonathan Edwards' 17 year old daughter, was his nurse and many speculate that there was deep love between them. But in the wilderness and in the ministry he was alone, and could only pour out his soul to God. And God bore him and kept him going.

You can read the complete biography here, as it is a great inspiration to strugglers that endure not only loneliness, but chronic, terminal illness, depression, sorrow, disappointment, and pain.  The Apostle Paul had similar experiences, "...no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it," 2 Timothy 4:16-17. Notice too that he gave a reason for it.

Pray that you find that soul companion, and not be lonely to the end.  However, know that if you are lonely to the end, or time seems to stand still between now and when your companion comes, God's grace is sufficient.  There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). You can thrive in Christ as you drink deeply from His cisterns of companionship and joy.

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