Lonely. Authentic Fellowship, Part 2.

photo - Version 2

17But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20For you are our glory and joy.

1Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, 3that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:3

When loneliness strikes us it doesn’t matter if we are in a crowd or in the confines of our home, it’s like getting hit in the gut. We have been wired for connection! The Apostle Paul’s affection for the people of Thessalonica was intense.

Paul missed them. Indeed he had been torn away from them (Acts 17:1-10) and his desire to know how they were doing compelled him to risk “being left in Athens alone.”

For each of us the lonely factor is different. But when it strikes, it serves as a deep reminder of our need for communion — knowing and being known. God designed people with this capacity. Even in the beginning, God allowed Adam to experience alone-ness in the Garden (Genesis 2:18-25). Adam’s aloneness was purely a desire for “like” connection without the twistedness of The Fall (Genesis 3) that is our reality.

For us, loneliness creates its own internal weather system. Even as we  desire connection, loneliness creates a kind of self-consciousness in which we begin to doubt our loveability.

The good news: You are not a freak. Let the awareness of your aloneness bring you into the graceful mindfulness of God, our Heavenly Father who is close not far; who has risked conception and the Cross through Jesus; who has made His dwelling in you by His Holy Spirit. Let the awareness of your aloneness be infused with the grace of Jesus, so you may receive people as gifts from God not to be used but to be celebrated.

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