In our imperfect efforts to serve our Savior, there are times when, I’m sure, we all feel alone. This solitude may be real or imagined, but the feelings of isolation, which accompany it, are very real. And while the Bible has much to say about the strength and vitality of Christian community, it is not at all silent about serving the Savior alone.
2 Samuel 23:9 And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10 He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.
Eleazer, understanding God’s intention for Israel, stood alone when others ran away and who only returned after the battle was already won. Eleazer won the battle alone, but he wasn’t by himself. The God of Israel was with him.
2 Samuel 23:11 And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. 12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory.
Shammah was much like Eleazer. He took his stand in the midst of Israel’s enemies and fought alone to a great and amazing victory. Undoubtedly, Shammah was a confident warrior, but his real confidence was in the Lord. Probably both Eleazer and Shammah realized the potential for death, but were, nevertheless, ready to stand upon the promises and dignity of God even unto death. They were willing to do so alone, but not really alone. The triune God was with them.
Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
Matthew 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.”43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.
Matthew 26:44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 “Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”
The Lord was alone. On the night when He was to be betrayed, when, more than ever, the fellowship of the disciples would be needed, they failed Him and left Him alone. But our Savior wasn’t alone, the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit was with Him, and that was all that was needed. Only Jesus could die for us, and He had to do it alone.
Maybe this is why, at times, we serve alone. Maybe it is the way it needs to be. Maybe it is the way of the cross. But we must remember this, when we are alone, or feel alone in our service to the Savior, we are not alone at all. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are right there with us, and that is more than enough.