beside (preposition): at the side of; next to  

“God said, ‘Look, here is a place right beside me.” Exodus 33:21

Lonely is a horrible feeling. This desperate combination of scared and sad and unworthy can take us to a hopeless place.

It snuck up on me lately when several hard things were going on, and I was trying to handle them by myself.  For lots of “good” reasons, I struggled silently instead of reaching out. The stress took its toll on my heart, my stomach, my energy. I felt drained, vulnerable, and empty.

But even though I felt the harsh sting of loneliness, I knew for sure that I was never truly alone. When I was driving to work trying not to cry, when I was lying awake at night with my heart pounding, when I was sitting in the hospital waiting room for hours with no one to talk to, Jesus was right there.

Beside me.

God said, “Look here is a place right beside me.”  

And in the next breath he said, “Put yourself on this rock.”

In this verse, God was about to reveal his power and presence to Moses in a way that he never had before. He was inviting Moses to put himself in a secure and protected place where he could get the most of God as his spirit came close. A place right beside him.

And you know what?

Those secure and protected places right beside Jesus are everywhere. If we can just get our hearts in position to receive from him, he will meet us wherever we are. The “rock” that we can put ourselves on might be the chair in the waiting room, the space on the sidewalk next to us, the seat on the bus, the side of our bed.

There is always room for us to be with Jesus.

So maybe loneliness can take us somewhere good, somewhere lighter. Even in the darkest times, we don’t have to spiral down into hopelessness. If we simply notice Jesus, we will never be alone. He is our closest, constant friend.

He knows what we are so deathly afraid of.

He also knows our favorite flowers, our coffee order, the music that moves us, and the things that make us laugh.

And when he comes to sit beside us, he brings us real hope. He covers us and wraps us up in deep and lasting peace.

Invite Him in: Climb onto the rock– the sacred space that Jesus is saving just for you. He knows what you are going through, and he is right there. Even when you are feeling the most alone and anxious, you are in the presence of your faithful friend. He is with you, next to you, all around you. Come and rest and just sit beside Jesus.