I have a Pastor friend who writes a daily devotional. Each morning (except Sunday when he is preaching at his church) I look forward to receiving the “lesson”. It gives me something good and positive to start my day! I am inspired by him, and I am going to try to post a daily devotional too!
14 Secrets to Better Relationships Dave Early writes:
We live in “The Land of Isolation… The average American will move fourteen times in a lifetime…Americans move around so much that we find it difficult to sustain intense relationships. Many of us live rootless lives…One-quarter of all Americans will experience serious loneliness this month. Ninety percent of the male population in America lacks a true friend.”
Philip Zimbardo of Stanford University laments, “I know of no more potent killer than isolation. There is no more destructive influence on physical and mental health than the isolation of you from me and us from them.”
So what can we do? Dave Early says that the solution to this epidemic of isolation is fellowship. “The persistent feeling of being unwanted, unneeded, unnoticed, and uncared for is something no one can live with.”…and yet so many people do live lonely existences because they don’t know what to do! We don’t know where to go or how to find meaningful relationships. We simply don’t know that there is a solution – a better way. THE Way to an abundant LIFE.
Two weeks ago I was an occasional anonymous congregation member in a mega church. This mega church youth group has hundreds and hundreds of children. The huge sanctuary is always filled to capacity at every service. Don’t misunderstand me, the church is “Mega” for good reason. The praise music is better than any concert…and the sermons always hit the nail EXACTLY on the head. But I was lonely for a church family. I was concerned that my children were not building the intimate relationships that would last a life-time. My best childhood experiences and many of my best childhood friends were members of my youth group and my youth choir growing up. I belonged somewhere. If I wasn’t there I was missed. If my friends weren’t there, they were missed. We knew each other. We accepted each other. It was the only place where the biggest nerds could comfortably hang out with the biggest jocks and everyone was an equal because we were all brothers and sisters in Christ. I moved 9 times before I was twenty years old, and I have moved several times as an adult…I know what it is like to start over and have to find a place. It might seem easier not to even try…but when God is in the circle of friendship it is amazing what can happen.
God is so good… AGAIN He heard the desires of my heart…and not only did He lead me to a church that reminds me of my grandparent’s church (full of love and caring), but it is Pastored by a dear friend. In two weeks my family has gone from Wandering to “WOW!” We have been to services, met people, been given cookies, gone to youth group…God has a place for us all, me…my family…and YOU to plug in and recharge our batteries. The place is with other people. The place is with people who know and love God and therefore will know us and love us…and we will do the same in turn.
In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says, ” For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”
That is all it takes to belong. We will not find this fellowship that is deep and meaningful and lasting and soul-feeding in a bar…or in a tennis group, or at a dinner club…We may find friendships from these and other unlikely places, but the ones that will last for eternity and that have eternal importance will always have God in the center…will put God first.
My message for today is: If you want to have a relationship that will quench a longing, or fill a void, ask God to be present. Seek out a community that can play together and pray together. Those are the relationships that regardless of how many miles apart we may be, we will always stay together.
Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith sang a song back when I was a kid:
Friends are Friends Forever …
“Packing up the dreams God planted in the fertile soil of you. I can’t believe the hopes He’s granted means a chapter of your life is through.
But we’ll keep you close as always. It won’t even seem you’ve gone ‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways will keep the love that keeps us strong.
And friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them. And a friend will not say never ’cause the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, that a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends
And with the faith and love God’s given, springing from the hope we know. We will pray the joy you live in, is the strength that now you show
We’ll keep you close as always. It won’t even seem you’ve gone. ‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.
And friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them. And a friend will not say never ’cause the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, that a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.”
And that is how it is when God is a part of the relationship. It is real and it is forever. Ask God to guide your steps to a place of love and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and you will never be alone. Praise be to God! And if you need a friend in Christ, here I am.