When my husband worked as a city cop, I spent half of each year dreading the other half. For a six month stretch, he worked the evening shift. While he was on this shift, it felt like we saw each other only in passing, ships in the night. He went to work at 2 P.M., I got home from work at 4 P.M. I went to bed at 10, he hopefully made it home by midnight. This was annoying when it was just the two of us, inconvenient, frustrating, and unfair when we started adding children to the mix.
I spent countless nights eating dinner without him, bathing the kids without him, going through the bedtime story/song/prayer/drink-of-water/one-more-story routine without him. During those months, my days were punctuated by times of deep loneliness. Sure, I would get to talk to him sporadically throughout the day, or if I stayed up late or he woke up early, but often I felt like I was completely on my own. During his weekends, which were usually weekdays, he made the most of his time and served us well, but eventually, his Monday would roll around and I was on my own again.
I don’t think this sense of loneliness is exclusive to wives of policemen; everyone feels lonely sometimes, and some probably feel lonely a lot of the time. We were created for community. God himself exists in community: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When God first created man and woman, Adam and Eve experienced deep relationship with God and with each other (Genesis 2). But when Adam and Eve disobeyed in the Garden, something shifted in those relationships. Where there was once unity and togetherness, isolation now existed. They couldn’t relate to each other or to God properly anymore (Genesis 3).
We inherited this brokenness of relationship from the first man and woman. We are unable to relate to God or each other properly. During those nights when Jake was working and I was home alone, I thought that if he were home, I wouldn’t feel so lonely. But the truth is, my spouse, my kids, and my friends cannot cure my loneliness. That loneliness goes down deeper than how I relate to others; it is rooted in how I relate to God.
When Adam and Eve screwed this up, they were banished from the Garden because of their sin. However, we have been given a new way to relate with God; Christ reconciles us to the Father, bringing us who were once far from God near to Him, turning us from enemies of God to friends(Ephesians 2:12-13, Colossians 1:19-20, Romans 5:10). Honestly, it’s always kind of rubbed me wrong to hear people say Jesus is their best friend. It just sounds a little hokey to me. However, there is biblical support for the idea of Jesus as our friend, not in a corny, sentimental way, but in a genuine, gritty, blood-sweat-and-tears kind of way. Jesus isn’t the kind of friend you go to craft shows or get pedicures with; he’s the kind of friend who weeps with you when your marriage is failing, walks with you when you’re battling addiction, stands by you when you are at your weakest and most pathetic.
Proverbs describes a friend “who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).” Jesus showed his love for his friends, including us, by laying down his life(John 15:13, Romans 5:8). In doing this, not only does he prove himself to be a better friend than any I’ve ever had, but he also repairs the broken relationship between God and sinners, if they are willing to believe.
My husband doesn’t do shift work anymore, but there are still times when I feel lonely. When I do, I try to remember what I know is true: God loves me better than any human could. He sought me out to reconcile me to himself. He traded His son so I could become His daughter. Though Jesus’ physical body has left the earth, He has given me the Holy Spirit, the literal presence of God, to live inside of me. Not once has He left me alone.