What if you were the kid standing alone against the fence? Slouching and crying softly to yourself? You have no one to talk to, and you don’t want to play tether ball because you know you will lose, and also, even if everyone playing it is having a good time, you don’t like it.
What if every single time, sans one when your class played basketball, you were picked last for the team? What if you read books or magazines that talked about how sad it was to be chosen last, and you couldn’t figure out why?
What if you went to a youth group activity, the only one you had ever been to, and not one person talked to you for the first two hours you were there? At about fifteen minutes ‘till nine a girl came over to see how you were doing. You were fine, you guessed, if you liked standing around my yourself.
What if you had to move over and over again and at one point decided to join a lot of clubs so you didn’t have to worry about friends, because you would only lose them again?
What if you were so shy as a baby Christian you’d get up and go to the bathroom during the greeting time?
What if you were me?
I think part of my problem when I was young, was I didn’t know how much God loved me, or how much He wanted me to love Him. The Bible says in 1 John 4, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” The Gospel of John says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”
As I came to understand what it meant, that His Son was a sacrifice for all I’ve ever done, I began to be thankful for His decision to let Him die such a brutal death (I believe God makes decisions). It must have been a very difficult thing for Him to do to let Him go, and He was willing to do it for me.
What I loved was the Gospel, I loved that God so loved the world He gave His only son. I could hardly grasp that every single one of my sins was forgiven; blotted out; obliterated. He would not and could not remember then. I thought, if everyone knew that, they would jump on it. I would sit edgy on the corner of my seat, hardly paying attention to the sermon because I could not wait for everyone to listen to the gospel.
That said, I wondered why Christianity was so popular. After a time I realized if I didn’t absolutely have to believe it was true, I wouldn’t. Why would someone want to sit in a church listening to the bizarre beginnings: A virgin birth, what might appeared to me to be a haphazard way of choosing his disciples, difficult speeches to accept, and his death. It would be easier not to believe: Jesus’ death was shameful, His return to life difficult to grasp and his ascension improbable. Why would you get involved with this if you didn’t really believe it?
The days that are American’s High Holy Days are the strangest. Christmas is kind of a weird story – a poor family giving birth in a manger, surrounded by shepherds and angels (oh my, angels are another story- angels are described as having many wings and eyes – how do you get those plump little babies with wings from that?) But Easter is worse. Easter is the greatest expression of God’s power – but if you don’t believe in God’s power His trial, His conviction and His long, bloody walk to Calvary, are absolutely too much to bear, unless you believe it to be true with all your heart. I do. But I can’t understand why you would go if you weren’t seeking or a believer, or if you had sought and didn’t buy it, you would continue to go.
So why are the churches filled with people content to sing songs and shake hands? Are our sermons so bland they never get to the meat of true Christianity? If they did, would the churches still be filled?
A side note, I know, but I think it’s an important one.
Back to believing in God’s love. It took me a long time and a lot of reading out of my King James Bible to get to the place I could believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Bible says “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” I was able to accept that satisfying love and I am learning to abide in Him. He doesn’t need lessons to know how to abide in me. We are each other’s forever.
So, this doesn’t make the end of my loneliness. I moved a year ago and am still figuring out how to make friends I can go have coffee with and play-dates for my daughter. But to be honest, I lived in my last home for fourteen years and still struggled with loneliness there. What has changed though is that I know the truth. When I acknowledge all I know about Jesus and His love I am never alone, I know that He is always with me, and I will keep training my heart to love Him with all my heart, soul and strength until the end of the age .