Jesus in the desert alone for forty days. That’s a long time to be alone. He must have felt quite lonely.
But he had his father. He was in fellowship and prayer with his father, God. And they two were One to a degree that we cannot understand. The mystery of the Trinity is, in part, the mystery of three beings who are distinct yet still part of one another. Three yet One. They enjoy love and unity in a way we simply cannot comprehend.
And so what must it have been like for Jesus to hang on the cross, the bearer of the sins of all the people who ever lived in all of human history, while he knew that Holy God could not be in fellowship with him? During the time that he became sin for us, he was forsaken by his father for the first time in eternity.
We believe we are lonely. But our loneliness is nothing in comparison to that great forsakenness. That is loneliness that we can hardly conceive.
And I’m sorry to say that that is the kind of loneliness that those who reject Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness will feel. Utter separation from the God of love, mercy and kindness will be like Jesus’ despairing separation. How could it not be?
People like to scoff at the idea of eternal punishment. It might be wise to examine the nature of that punishment. An unbridgeable gulf, an unbreakable wall between you and the only source of love, comfort, or peace. The mere possibility of relationshhip with any other being, impossible.
If we spurn his mercy, we exchange it for suffering like his, and a kind of loneliness unlike any we have imagined.