• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Ever feel lonely?

Ever feel like you are standing in a crowd, but no one recognizes you and engages you in conversation? Ever feel like you are the unnecessary ‘extra’ in a group and wish someone could just ‘beam you up Scotty’?  Ever feel lonely?loneliness

Loneliness is that emotion where we deeply sense our loss of connection to others; where we know in our hearts that we are ‘unplugged’ relationally.

That loneliness can be the result of a number of factors. We may be a ‘foreigner’ in a culture where we have been called to live and minister, and we feel that loneliness because nothing is familiar.  We may be an ‘older person’ surrounded by the new younger generation of workers, and we sense that loneliness because we feel ‘old’ and misunderstood.  We may be a single on a team of married couples, and we feel that loneliness  because we are like that proverbial 5th wheel, not sure of our place and role.  We may be from one culture, working among a team with a majority of members from another culture, and ministering together among another culture.  In that situation, we feel that loneliness because we are always fighting to have ourselves heard, misunderstood and appreciated.

I am not trying to be simplistic by saying that community is one of the best ways to dispel loneliness in our lives. However, the Bible certainly leaves us with this distinct impression.  However, our communities often tend to accentuate rather than dispel loneliness. That happens because we, as individual members, look to the community to meet our needs, rather than offering acceptance and engagement to all members of the community.  When we move towards others in the community and relationally ‘plug back in’ with those who are part of our community, we begin to dispel the cloud of loneliness.

At a wedding that Rebecca & I attended a few weeks ago, the pastor made this comment: “Love is all about initiative: we taking initiative to move towards others, just as God took the initiative to move towards us.”

I’m not sure how all this works out, but calling us back to examining what gospel community should truly look like, is certainly a first step.

6 Responses

  1. Hi David,
    A great “Thought” as usual. Sorry I never seem to take the time to formulate my thoughts on your blog. Mostly they resonate with me very deeply, especially the ones about community. I will try to write n the future.

    BTW… a small typo in the last line of the third paragraph: ” In that situation, we feel that loneliness because we are always fighting to have ourselves heard, misunderstood and appreciated.” I think you meant… “heard, understood and appreciated”

    Blessings on you, David, as you lead World Team.

    In His Strong Arms,
    Henry

    • It’s always good when others ‘enter’ the conversation. It adds to our mutual growth and understanding. Thanks for finding that typo (: They say that such typos make a blog ‘real’ since it’s more stream of consciousness, coming from the heart (:

  2. Coming at this from another angle, Dave Hare accented this phenomenon in the cover article to the May 2016 eLink. I John 4:20b “…who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” So…whether the “other” is “lovely or unlovely” – I’m to move towards them …because THAT is how GOD loves.

    • That was the thrust of what the pastor I quoted was trying to say, I think. God’s love should push up out towards others.

  3. Sandra and I have spent the month of May visiting supporters in central Canada. The number one thing that has struck us is people’s loneliness. Sandra and I talked about it before even seeing your post on the subject. Christians, they belong to a church, they see people, but they don’t have community, they don’t have friends, just acquaintances. They are lonely, hurting, they desperately want community but are somehow afraid of it at the same time. Seeing people’s loneliness has made a deep impression upon us, leaving us wondering what has gone wrong with even Christian society. It is staggering. It has also left us sincerely thankful for the community we experience at home and with our World Team colleagues.

    In Jesus’ love, Gary

    • I think you put your finger on a situation that is growing in concern, but that we often don’t see. I believe there are many causes or ways that we have been ‘deprived’ of community. Many have not experienced real community for so long that they call ‘other virtual communities’ a community. I remember a NZ blogger once saying at a conference that he had yet to attend an American Thanksgiving online. His point was well taken. You need to be in real community to make it happen.

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