Matthew 1:18–23 ESV
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Joseph had a plan. He was going to wed Mary, settle down, raise a family. He thought he had the details of their future all worked out. But word got around to him, before the Angel arrived, that left Joseph wounded and his dreams wrecked. Heartache can be a loneliness that seems to be endless, dark, confusing, and questioning your self-worth. And the moment it hits, it feels like eternity.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name, Immanuel.” Which is God with us!
Matthew was repeating the prophecy spoken by Isaiah nearly 800 years before the birth of Jesus. During that time, God had given this as a sign to Isaiah for the future remnants of Israel. They were to be scattered and separated far from home. God is with us even when the world feels as though it abandoned us. David expressed his loneliness as he ran from Saul.
Look to the right and see; there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.
David might have been surrounded with 400 men at this time to serve under him, but that did not stop the feelings of being unheard, unknown, and uncared for. The impact of social isolation and loneliness is also extremely harmful to our physical and emotional health. It can decrease life expectancy to the same degree as smoking and is two times more dangerous to our physical health than obesity. Loneliness can also lead many people to lose the sense of purpose and meaning of life. Elijah asked God to take his life as he fled from Jezebel. His state of mind was desolate.
1 Kings 19:4
“It is enough; now, O Lord; take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.
He was depressed, he was desperate and had no one to help deal with the cares of life. Elijah’s torment in isolation had been amplified by exhaustion and hunger. To be widowed can usher in extreme loneliness, not only from death of a loved one but the silence in the home and change of daily activities and constant reminders our beloved is no longer with us. Naomi anticipated bitter loneliness, having already lost her husband and sons; grief is desperately lonely even if her daughters-in-law remained. Ruth was facing possibilities of isolation in a foreign land that could exist beyond her childbearing years. People can be lonely while surrounded by others. Jesus experienced true loneliness at the cross while numerous spectators watched Him die. No one could take His place or share the suffering that was to come. The numbers of people around him only amplified His isolation. Psalm 22:1 was a prophetic note from David that passed from him to his precious descendant on the cross.
My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?
The words of Jesus puzzled me for several years. Why would God forsake His own son at such a sad moment? Why? Because it was what I deserved. Jesus took it all, my pain, my punishment and finally my separation. He redeemed me! He restored everything to me and to you. Immanuel, God with us. Even the disciples needed a gentle reminder. Jesus promised his disciples
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
When we turn to Him, God nurtures relationships, build trust, and demonstrates practical mercy for our good and His glory. Don’t take your eyes off Jesus, don’t lose your focus nor yourself.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God is with us. In our darkest hours of isolation and loneliness, He will never desert us, and He will always see us through. Our Heavenly Father delivered our most cherished gift to us on earth over 2000 years ago, Himself. God was born to us in a humble manger. We have something followers of no other religions have. God truly understands me and understands you from the depths of our soul. No other religion has a god who suffered, who had to be courageous, that knows what it is like to be abandoned by friends, crushed by injustice, tortured, and gave up his own life. He is our Comforter and Counselor, Immanuel. When we talk to Jesus, He knows what we are going through even when we do not have the words or strength to articulate and express our inner most needs. Immanuel, God with us. Jesus is our perfect comforter. He has been there and done that.
Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
This verse means that God suffered, and Jesus triumphed through suffering. Jesus has the infinite power to comfort. Have you been betrayed, lonely, destitute, ignored and just left in a place where you can’t comprehend your surroundings? God has been there when we venture off course. We can trust and rely on Him because He has the power to comfort, strengthen and bring us through. He calls us friend and offers to be with us and never forsake us. Jesus gives us the gift of His presence, His love, His peace, and His joy every day and in every situation for eternity. Even before God made the world, he decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. The creator of the universe loves us that much! Immanuel, that baby in a manger, grew and chose to sacrifice Himself so that we could be in His presence. What an unspeakable joy it is to know His love for each of us yet how difficult sometimes it is to grasp the concept that as unworthy as I am, He wanted to do that for me! No matter how lonely we feel, we are never alone.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angles nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord
The knowledge that God is with us changes everything. Immanuel’s presence provides joy, even in the mist of our loneliness. It does not matter the exact date of the birth of Jesus or that we celebrate a certain date of the year. What is truly important is that You and I accept the gift. The gift that personally changes everything, especially in our loneliest moments. It will never be lost if we choose to receive it. Immanuel, God with us!
The most incredible gift ever given from the most incredible person that loves me and loves you, our Abba Father!