Happy Wednesday! (I only start these devotionals with the day of the week… because I am finding that the days are all blending together!)
I have visited a number of people in jails and prisons. There is a ominous fact that they are “locked in” …unable to come and go as they want! They dream of the day that they will get out, free to wander where they desire, and to do what they want. (gee…does this sound familiar in our current situations?) I remember talking to an inmate (8 years for voluntary manslaughter…driving with no license due to 7 DUI convictions, drunk, crashed into and killed a woman) about being locked up. I asked him what the worst part of prison was. His answer struck me. He said, “I can’t go get a hamburger when I want…and the phone will never ring!”
Many of us can relate to those thoughts with the stay in place, social isolation, quarantine type situations we find ourselves in. They (and maybe you) may even feel like you are in a prison (solitary confinement…in “the hole” so to speak) within the walls of you home. Can’t sit at your favorite restaurant and get a burger. No places open to go to. Now, the bright spot for us is that this too will pass!
You know, not to long ago, I was working 70 hours a week. Oh sure, I was doing God’s work, helping people in need, fulfilling God’s plan for me, and feeling blessed to do so! But I have to admit, I would long for and dream of just being alone for a while…down time…30 minutes, a few hours, dare I dream a whole day off…alone. Now the truth is that I have a loving wife, so my alone time was not to the exclusion of her….but to take a walk, meditate, and be all alone with God was a cherished moment! Well you know the old saying…”be careful what you wish for!”
As my work days and my work hours are more limited now, I have more time to be with my wife, to be alone with the Lord, as well as time to meditate and to be alone with my thoughts. I pray that you will use this time of forced isolation to connect with the Lord…and to meditate on His Word. And now since our situations have changed and….we are all mandated to social distancing, stay in place orders…and isolation, it can cause some issues. This can lead many of to us feeling alone and lonely!
So…where am I going with this devotion? Alone and lonely are both adjectives, but they have different meanings. A person is alone when he is by himself. A person is lonely when he feels abandoned or sad due to isolation. Alone refers to a state of solitude, rather than lonely which is an emotion. Some of you live alone. Maybe not in a relationship, no family close by, widowed. Maybe you have felt lonely for a long time. Perhaps limited travel or health issues, few visitors, staring at the phone wishing it would ring. For others, limited due to the coronavirus world we live in, you are now part of the “new” all alone and lonely section of our world and church family! You can no longer go out to eat, have a birthday party, go to the zoo, worship or participate on site at church activities.
So… I would like to share some thoughts with you:
- Being alone can be good for a while. So what are you doing with your “alone” time. Are you connecting with God’s Word and His plan for you?
- Know that you are never really alone!
- Joshua 1:9…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” The message translation says to focus on God’s word… Joshua 1:9 (msg)… Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
- God is by your side 24/7!
- Zephaniah 3:17…The Lord your God is with you,the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
- Know that your church is still here for you. I am only a call away (440-237-7958 ext. 118), visit our website royred.org and our Facebook can connect you with your church family.
- Know that your phone (and computer keyboard) work both ways….incoming and outgoing…..you can reach out to someone! Initiate or renew a relationship by phone or electronically. You never know, they may be as lonely as you are!
- As I was typing this (yesterday) my phone rang…a wonderful couple baked and dropped a gift of bakery. Thank you!!! Does it give you any ideas?
Maybe you are reading this and life is fine for you. Maybe you live with others, connected thru work at home relationships, have a good social network, kids doing school from your dining room table….not alone or lonely. First, thank the Lord for your situation. Second….reach out to someone else. Call them and let them know you care, that they are not alone, give them the opportunity to share their story….and give them support and encouragement. Why not send out a “thinking of you card”. Send an email or text. Drop off some cookies (chocolate chip of course). Make someone’s day! Check in on neighbors…especially those older and vulnerable. Pray for those that are lonely…for those on the front lines…those making governmental decisions.
Lord…you created Adam, put him in paradise…but soon you said “it is not good for man to be alone”. Reach out and remind each of us that we are never alone, that you are always by our side. Help us to pray to you often, and to listen to you through your Word. Connect us to other people like family, friends, and church brothers and sisters. Help us realize that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. May we look out for others. Direct us to those that are in need of a caring voice. Also watch over those who are on the front lines of the war on the coronavirus. Keep us safe. Give our political leaders wisdom and compassion. Amen.
Take time today to:
- Talk to God in prayer, read His Word…it’s His message (a love letter) written to you!
- Ask God to point out those He wants you to reach out to.
- Share the Love of Christ with at least 3 people today!
- Use this season of life to repair broken relationships.