Fighting Loneliness, Pt. 3
Off The Lonely Road
As I continue this blog, I remember an old song by The Beetles, “Eleanor Rigby.” They asked some intriguing questions...
All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?
Where do they come from and where do they belong? It’s no mystery. Lonely people come from every class, culture and creed. They are rich and poor, black and white, young and old. Where do they belong? That’s easy. They are looking for a tribe, a place where “Everybody Knows Your Name,” for people who understand, sympathize, listen, help and don’t judge. Do such a place and such a people exist? Only if you make it happen, which brings us back to the study:
7. Once You Are Back On Your Feet, Reach Out To Other Lonely People.
I’ve often believed that “wounded healers” make the best evangelists. If you’ve ever sung “songs in the night,” then you can hear the cries of others. It doesn’t take much of the gift discernment to identify a person who is lonely. There are only two people who have the potential of making a difference in a lonely person’s life. One is you. The other is the devil.
I hope you get there before he does. The Devil is a predator. The Bible calls him a “roaring lion seeking someone to devour,” 1 Pet. 5:8. Predators isolate their prey from the pack. They attack the weakest and most vulnerable. Any isolated person will do. It may be you or someone you love who is under attack right now. Satan is the quintessential opportunist. He plays for keeps and keeps for eternity.
Move into action whenever you see a lonely person. Sound the alarm. Welcome the weak. Lift up the downtrodden and invite the spiritually malnourished to join your tribe. Surround them with the protection of many. You can do this. God will get the victory and you will get the joy.
The one objection you might have is that you don’t have the time, or prefer not to get involved in the messy business of pulling somebody out of isolation. I’m glad that God never said that to any of us. The last thing I want to hear God say to me is “Sorry, I don’t have time for you today.”
Many of the miracles of Jesus happened after his schedule was interrupted. Can God interrupt your plans? I hope so. One of the best ways to get out of the funk of loneliness is to help someone else.
I remember visiting a village in Mexico several years back. We entered a home constructed of cardboard boxes and bailing wire. It had a dirt floor, a leaky roof and a wood burning stove that choked all the oxygen out of the air. In one of the small rooms, there was a sixteen year old boy with cerebral palsy lying on a urine stained, flee infested mattress. I was invited there to pray for him. I’ll never forget his smile. You would have thought that he was the happiest kid alive. He was so gracious and excited that we came to see him.
I realized in that moment that I have had many good days throughout my life. In fact, my worst day probably isn’t as bad as his best day. I was humbled and realized that my problems were so insignificant compared to his. For a few months afterward, I didn’t gripe or complain much about my own problems. As the experience wore off, I realized that one good deed doesn’t last a lifetime. I decided to do something about that.
Your life matters most when you give it away. Givers are seldom lonely people. They are world changers. It’s not a hard class to enter. In fact, as you let go of realities like fear, selfishness and anger, you will position yourself to begin rocking and upheaving your world for Christ. Even though I may not know you, I want this for you.
I don’t certain of what led you to this series of articles on loneliness. As the song goes, “I can only imagine…” We may never meet face to face in this life, but I already feel that I have a connection with you. I see you. I know some of the things that you have been through. I know that you are searching for the kind of life that you dreamed you would have one day. Just because you haven’t arrived yet, doesn’t mean that you never will. Or just because it was taken away from you, doesn’t mean it will never come back. It’s hard to wait, either on God or others, but there is value in waiting. It’s the time when you develop your character and faith. This is how you grow strong, stronger than you’ve ever been before.
I’ll pray for you. Just send me an email. If you are in San Antonio, we would love for you to connect with us. If you’ve made it this far in the blog, I believe you’re the kind of person who would love to start a movement. We are The Movement Church of San Antonio, and we have a slogan: “Send us all the people that no other church wants, and we will turn them into the kind of people that every other church would die for.”
James Shupp, Founder and Servant of The MovementTweet