January 26, 2010

Amish farmhouse with windmill
Amish farmhouse with windmill.

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“Thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4). “God places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6).

The faces of lonely people occupy my thoughts this day. Loneliness is a universal phenomenon that visits every human soul in every culture, regardless of race, age, or educational level. A grim picture fills my mind of a young girl who was pulled from the rubble in the Haitian earthquake.  Tragically, eleven of her family members were buried in the ruins, and she is the sole survivor.  This young girl’s life will never be the same, as she will surely deal with profound loneliness.

Lonely person
The word “lonely” conveys such sadness and isolation. Many lonely people are not necessarily at a distance from other people.  In fact they may very well be surrounded by people in a city, office environment, or their own family members.  Even as the planet gets more and more populated it seems loneliness spreads.

Fundamentally it’s because mankind has tried replacing the divinely appointed order of our relationship with God, family, and the fellowship of other believers with a host of replacements.  Even the meaning of “friend” has changed. Now people collect “friends” on social websites; people they don’t personally know or have a deep, meaningful relationship with.

Shepherd with sheepIn the beginning God and man had close fellowship and since that time many have had the wonderful assurance expressed by David in the Shepherd’s Psalm, “Thou art with me”.  That’s the greatest antidote to loneliness!  Hide deeply in your heart these words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

In the beginning God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” and made a helper suitable for him and thus ordained marriage and “places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6). We may also speak of the “family of believers.” As I pray with my wife and daughter in a “family hug” and occasionally we sing the doxology together, I consider it one of the most fulfilling moments of life.  Today I urge you to treasure and nurture your close family relationships.

However as I conclude I still consider the precious souls reading this who are lonely today.  It may be that you are separated from your companion or soul-mate by death.  Perhaps you’ve been abandoned by an unfaithful spouse, or are dealing with estranged children. I don’t minimize your pain even though it is not presently my experience.  Several considerations:

1) Lean heavily upon the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases. You will find Him to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
2) If you aren’t already, become active in a local Bible-believing church with a caring pastor and congregation.
3) Often the quickest way to end loneliness is to reach out to another who has a need.  When we put others needs first, God has a way of fulfilling our own inner need.
4) If you’re lonely due to past hurts and you remain guarded, seek God for healing and start giving of yourself again to cultivate a friendship.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, thank You for the many Scriptures that reassure us we’re never alone, whether it’s during our mountain top experiences or in the valleys below.  You promise that Your Spirit will never leave us nor forsake us, but You will be with us always. We are encouraged and strengthened by Your promises and Your presence.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  Lonely people are all around us, but we tend to look the other way when we don’t want to take time to be part of that solution.  Sometimes it’s for lack of courage or trying to find the right words, as well.

I can still see the empty and hopeless expression on the face of a young carnival worker I saw at a fair in Clearfield County over fifteen years ago.  I was waiting in line at the merry-go-round when she caught my attention.  Her long thick black hair was very tangled and needed a good washing.  She collected tickets from the riders and operated the ride almost in robotic movement. Her eyes and expression seemed so distant and hopeless. God spoke to my heart as audibly as I’ve ever heard Him… “Tell her ‘Jesus loves you'”.  I felt my heart was going to burst as I contemplated her reaction if I spoke these words to a complete stranger, but the Spirit persisted.  I put Ester on the horse as this message kept echoing in my heart.  I said to myself that I would tell her after the ride was over.

But I let fear override the conviction from the Holy Spirit.  I’ve never forgotten that experience and have wondered many times if this was a desperate, lonely woman who simply needed to hear from God.  I repented of my disobedience and have prayed a number of times that God sent another messenger later to tell her the Good News. May we all have godly courage and take the time to seek out the lost and lonely people in our surroundings who may simply need to hear “Jesus loves you.“

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

“Your Steadfast Love”  Video Don Moen

“In Your Presence”  Video Charles Billingsley.

“Here In Your Presence”  Video

“In Your Presence”  Video Paul Wilbur

“In Your Presence”  Video Jason Upton

Yesterday several alert readers informed me the photo I displayed by Doris High was of Canada Geese rather than Canadian Geese.

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