And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, E’-li, E’-li, la’-ma sa-bach’-tha-ni? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).
Music is an interesting and integral component of the human experience. From generation to generation, it evolves into different styles, rhythms, and lyrics. Despite the changes, music always reflects various elements of life as we know it.
Keys and rhythms come together to reflect positive experiences such as joy and victory. Keys and rhythms also come together to reflect negative experiences such as grief and loneliness.
Many years ago, a unique folk song was written. One section of the song had only two keys in it — both minor keys. The combination of the two minor keys formed a foreboding, lonely sound. The music and lyrics together gave the impression that the singer was living life in a minor key.
Jesus came to this earth for the total human experience — including loneliness. When He cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” He was experiencing life in a minor key. However, He didn’t stay there. We don’t have to stay there either. As long as we belong to God, loneliness is not a permanent or hopeless condition. It is certain, though, that we will at times live life in the minor key of loneliness.
We experience loneliness when we are abandoned by people. The Bible gives us real life examples for us to glean from. Briefly, let us look at three of them.
Joseph was favored by his father and chosen by God. Have you ever wondered how he felt when his brothers left him?
Paul was excited to have a Christian brother like Demas to help him in his ministry. In II Timothy 4:9-10 you can feel the pain in Paul’s words, “Demas has forsaken me because he loves this present world.”
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed alone. Then His disciples deserted him when He needed them the most.
In our lives we experience this in various ways. Many feel the sting of loneliness when a spouse walks out. Parents experience the empty nest when the last child leaves home. As Christians we stand alone when we choose to please God rather than go along with the world’s views.
We experience loneliness when we suffer persecution. Elijah fled from the wrath of Jezebel. Stephen faced the mob all alone — simply because he preached the truth. Our persecution may not seem as severe, but sooner or later some form of persecution will come. It may be in the form of lies intended to ruin our reputation. It may be simply being ostracized at our workplace. However it happens, it is a lonely place.
Scripture shows us that loneliness is a common experience. If God is with us, we are never truly alone. Loneliness is not the end of it all. Let us revisit our earlier examples to see how things worked out for them:
Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt.
Paul continued his ministry and wrote a large portion of the New Testament.
Elijah went on to anoint two kings and his own replacement, Elisha.
Stephen was stoned to death, but had an enormous impact on the life of Paul.
Jesus died, rose again and lives to be our intercessor forevermore.
Every now and then, life hits a minor key. Remember, the minor key is only part of the song. The presence of God in our lives makes it all beautiful music.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.