Valentine's Day Challenge: End Loneliness one relationship at a time.
Have you ever stopped to picture what it looks like for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to exist together? One of the first times I really gave myself permission to picture this was while I was reading a popular yet controversial book called, The Shack.
(I don’t want to distract from actual discussion by getting into a debate about this book, so I’d like your grace in using it to make a point!)
At one point in the story, all three persons of the trinity are sitting around a dinner table having “devotions” with Mack. For them, devotions is a time of talking to one another, finding out about their day, sharing their joys and their sorrows, and really being glad to be together. Their demeanor around the table is one of active listening, open sharing, and lots of love and laughter.
As Mack, the main character in the book, watches the way they relate to one another, he is totally blown away by their relationship. I too, was drawn into their interactions instantly as I read the scene. They spoke to one another with so much interest, and with so much “glad to be together” joy that the picture was engraved in my memory with crystal clear clarity.
This image of the trinity in relationship is a continually playing picture in my mind that continues today to teach me what God wants for me in my relationships.
In Genesis, during the creation account, it says “Let us make man in our image”.
From the very beginning, God intended for US to be in relationship. Before he even formed the dirt together into the form of a man, He had plans for us to be in the image of Himself- which was plural. “Us” and “Our” are not glimpses of just one lonely person. In fact, the only time during creation God didn’t say “it is good”, is when he noticed that man was in fact, alone.
Loneliness was never part of God’s design for us.
Neither were things like bickering, gossiping, backstabbing, accusing, comparing, controlling, and so on.
Perhaps some of us have chosen loneliness because of all the things on that list. There is something within us that cringes and withdraws from people simply because they represent the opposite of what God wanted for us.
But the truth is, God created us NOT TO BE ALONE.
I am not writing this blog to make those of you who are suffering in your loneliness to feel ashamed. I am writing this blog to challenge the rest of us to open up our eyes to God’s design for us relationally. It’s time we begin making it a priority to be relational rather than critical and judgmental. It’s not okay just letting the lonely disappear into the shadows.
The book Joy Starts Here lays a foundation for how important it is for the weak and the strong to come together in community.
(If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you grab a copy now!)
I see churches full of Christians that are doing their best to maintain their relationships with God and with their close-knit circle of friends and family. (these are the “strong”) And I see lonely people slipping into and out of the services unnoticed- desperately seeking a place to belong. (these are the “weak”)
They have not come to the wrong place- but they still feel alone.
“And the Lord said it was not good for man to be alone”.
I don’t see a lot of mixing between the two. This makes me sad because it’s not at all like the picture of our design.
Allow your inner eyes to close and see how the Father relates to the Son. Look at how the Son relates to the Father. See how the Holy Spirit relates to the Son and the Son relates to the Holy Spirit. Now imagine for a moment what they would want to do if they saw one of their children all alone and wounded from past relationships.
When I imagine this picture, I see compassion. I see love bursting for that child hurting in the dark. I see them command the rest of us to “love one another”. I see the Lord gently reminding us all that “it is not good” for man to be alone.
Today I want to leave you with one final thought:
Those that can’t yet sense the presence of the Lord, learn how the Lord loves and gives attention, based on how His people love and give attention.
How are you loving His people? How do you give your attention to the weak?