How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”-Exodus 33:16
Every morning in the winter I make a little fire and Emma sits on the ground near it and eats her cereal. This morning I was in the kitchen eating an orange staring into space when I noticed Emma look back at me. At first I didn’t acknowledge her because I was still letting my mind wonder and staring off into space. Then I noticed a little smile, so I waved, and she waved, then I waved both hands and she did the same. She just wants to know that her dad is near her. I realized how much security and safety that brought her in the moment.
Maslow says that safety and security needs are formed in the early part of life, even in infancy. While many people have their needs met, and love their parents, I can’t help but notice the insecurity of many people in the world today. I wonder if that comes from a sense of loneliness. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was once quoted calling loneliness the leprosy of the modern world. It seems to me that many adults, even ones that have had a solid foundation with their parents, suffer from a deep sense of loneliness.
I want to assert that the feeling of being alone in the world is an outright lie. Many who are recluse and live their lives without the company of other people might disagree with me. But I’d ask the question, why do you organize your life around loneliness? Why not be intentional about at least finding company in other people?”
Feeling alone in this world is an outright lie because, in the words of Dallas Willard, we live in a “God bathed world.” God is present here and everywhere. As much as my scientific friends will cringe at the next thought we can simply talk to God wherever you are at.
If the church truly is what the Bible says it is, and what Bonheoffer asserts as “Jesus revealed in community,” then loneliness should be a foreign concept in the church. So if you are a part of the church, you have the promise of the Christmas season of Immanuel, God with us. If you call yourself a Christian and are part of the church you can experience the presence of God with you. If you are part of the church then you have a mission to eradicate loneliness wherever it is.
Moses asked God to be with the Israelites because that would make them distinct. It would give them an identity in which to raise their children and their children’s children. Ultimately God went further than Moses could have ever envisioned and he took on flesh and dwelt (The Apostle John uses the word: “tabernacle”) among his people. He dwelt with His people, formed an identity in them so that they know to look to their father in all circumstances.
May loneliness be eradicated in your life by the simple promise that God wants you. May your turn your head toward Jesus and safely place your confidence in Him. May loneliness become an old memory that you have been saved from.
“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’