Have you discovered the miracle cure yet? A special ointment that can be administered to heal a broken heart or used to unlock the mysteries of suffering? Everywhere we turn, there is hurt on one street or the next…..in one hospital room or the next….in one living room or the next. If you listen intently, or look deep into the eyes of one suffering, you can hear their silent cry, “Where are you God?” “Why aren’t You here with me?”
The amazing thing is, He is here. He has set Himself among us and lives through us. That is why we are each called to serve and minister to others according to our specific passion. He knows the voids and places us in them. It is no different for me; I have my hot buttons! Certain life struggles stir me more deeply than others, and one that seems to continually break my heart is that of loneliness.
Interestingly, it has been a reoccurring theme in many of the places I have visited. I have heard the topic discussed from the pulpit and I have seen a great number of alter call responses (of all ages) from those who deal with feeling lonely on a daily basis. Mother Teresa said, “I cannot find a cause that is greater than the healing of the human heart,” and I would have to agree. As Proverbs 4:23 says, “From the heart flows the very issues of life. “
Christmas can generate a wealth of emotions. For some, there is so much in the way of family and festivities that they are filled with love to overflowing and could not possibly imagine the idea of feeling alone at Christmas. Then there are those who are in the exact same situation, yet they have a very difficult time relating to family. Even though they may be surrounded by loved ones and the sounds and smells of the season, they are secretly consumed by loneliness. There are also those who receive little to no attention at all, such as the elderly, the orphans, and the homeless.
I am no Doctor, but I have faced feeling lonely and I understand that it can be brought on by many things: the past (when not dealt with, it can remain as one’s present), the loss of a loved one, abandonment, some kind of seeming personal failure, a broken relationship, and the list goes on and on. These personal challenges can impede a person’s ability to see any life blessing at all. It can also stand in the way of the love of others, because the love of one important person may be missing.
But what is the answer? How can we help those who cannot get beyond their grief? I have found the remedy in the life of Christ himself and the love of God the Father.
Being the visual person that I am, I began to think about Jesus being born in a manger — in a village, amongst the people. Then it hit me: God sent His son into the world and made a huge statement from the onset of his physical presence on earth. He is a God of the people. Scripture refers to Jesus as, “Immanuel, God with us.” Matthew 1:23
What a beautiful picture – a totally inappropriate setting for childbirth, dirt, barn smells, clear skies adorned by bright stars, and our Jesus there in the midst of it all. He is with us; in our hometowns and in our poverty. Despite the massive size of His love shown on the cross, He is undeniably one who understands rejection. What kind of message would it have been if He had been born and lived in a palace? What kind of message would it have been if He had not dined at tables with sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes? He could have easily been a ruler of pomp and circumstance; a King without any firsthand experience of the life His people live.
Instead, He spent His life reaching for us. Every step of the way, He lived, loved and died with the people. He did not posture Himself as an elitist, demanding luxury and the adoration of those He loved. Instead, He made Himself a man of no reputation.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my loneliness and discouragement come because I refuse to reach. I remain unaffected by the needs that I know exist in this world, because quite honestly, I am consumed with myself. I do nothing about my emotional and spiritual condition other than whine to God about fixing me. And then in His still small voice, through His Word, comes the answer. Do you see the manger? That is Me reaching into your village, into your home and into your heart. The example of how you must live and the answer to every problem you face can be found in knowing and following the example of my Son. Now you must do the same in order to be filled with the love that you yearn for. But the love I speak of is not the kind you take, but the kind you give.
Indeed, “There is no greater cause than the healing of the human heart” and Jesus gave us the solution: love much! After my Father died, I watched how my Mother dealt with the loss. She reached out, despite her own grieving, and I saw the love that she gave to others, heal her own heart.
I heard Joyce Meyer once say, “If you are in a trial and want to make the devil mad, go help someone.” I am not in the business of making the devil mad, but it is true, when you face disappointment or hurt, the enemy would love nothing more than to see you lay down in defeat.
Through the example of Jesus we are taught to reach beyond our circumstances, stature and comforts and to set ourselves amongst the needs of the people. This was His response to heartache. It should be ours too.