Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Loneliness, Isolation, Trust & True Friends

Before the Covid-19 shutdown of businesses, I had an appointment with a new optometrist. I hadn’t seen an eye doctor for more than a decade but age has been creeping up on me & I knew it was time to get an exam.

While I was sitting in the waiting room, filling out the new patient paperwork, I looked at one of the questions & begin to reflect.

I’ve been asked this question many times & breezed through it without batting an eye. But this time, I just sat & stared at the question because it stood out to me.

Ok, you’re probably wondering what the question is...here it is: "Who Should We Contact In Case Of An Emergency?"  

Beverly is the name I write down, without hesitation. But as I sat & looked at that question, my thoughts went to anyone who might not be able to answer that question rapidly.  Perhaps at one time in their life, they could think of 3-4 names automatically. However, due to situations they no longer can.

My heart began to feel heavy for anyone that feels alone or feels like they have no one to trust.

I had a misty-eyed moment in the waiting room. I was thankful that I could name at least 20 or more names…people I know who will be there for Beverly or I if we needed help.

If I can be honest with you…circumstances, betrayal & time can reduce that number to the point that you lose trust in people & find it difficult to trust anyone at all.

The natural thing to do is to focus inward, to trust no one - to spend as much time as possible alone & isolated, because at least you don’t have to worry about being betrayed, hurt or disappointed.  

I grew up listening to a song that said this…

Me and Jesus, got our own thing goin'
Me and Jesus, got it all worked out
Me and Jesus, got our own thing goin'
We don't need anybody to tell us what it's all about

After all, all I need is Jesus, right?  
Jesus said He would never leave me or forsake me - that He would always be with me - so why do I even need anyone else?  


Yes, I need a strong, growing relationship with Christ, but I also need a strong, growing relationship with others...if I am truly going to experience the abundant life that Jesus promises.  

That’s not always easy. Risk is involved. You can get hurt, betrayed & even abandoned over & over.  But just because it's hard doesn't mean we should not try.  

We need relationships!  God designed us to do life with others. He designed for us to have the help of others.

I’m not sharing this because I’m looking for new friends or for people to text me & say, “we love you.”  I’m sharing this because I know there are people out there who feel isolated & lonely.  People who don’t want to feel that way & they wish things were different but due to circumstances they don’t know if they can ever trust anyone again.

Believe me…I understand.

Look at this verse in Proverbs 18:24 “One who has unreliable friends soon come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

It’s not easy…but it’s worth it!

Isolation is not the answer.  Rather, I believe true joy comes in the context of a group of people who will stand with you & love you – no matter what!

Are those people hard to find? Yes.

But, when you do find them…I can honestly say you will one day look back & know it was worth it.

If you’ve been ISOLATING yourself because of lost hope…today, I want you to rethink that decision.  I’m not asking you to simply make superficial friends who you always feel like you have to pretend to be someone else when you are around them…I’m saying don’t stay stuck in isolation!

There’s a powerful passage in 2 Samuel 23 that stands out to me.
“Next to him (David) was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.”

David was in a battle, it was intense and all of Israel's troops fled and left David in the middle of a field all alone, surrounded by the enemy.  

But there was Shammah...

He wasn't the guy who always told David, "I've got your back," but rather stood back to back with him when everyone else ran & they (together) brought about a victory.  

After this battle David could have mourned the loss of "all his friends" or he could have celebrated the victory he & the one friend who stood with him won.  

Personally, I think he chose the latter.  

Friend…we are only here on planet earth for a short time. I want to encourage you to do your best to try & be a good friend!  Ask God for wisdom & discernment so that you can truly say the friendships in your life are real & not based on anything except a true love for Jesus & one another.

Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

God bless you!