Lonely tract coverSome claim that we are heading into an age of even deeper loneliness as the Internet sucks up people's available time and pulls them away from being present with family and friends. But the deep problem of isolation has been around for a long time. Yesterday, through the big glass windows of the public library, I saw four "friends" standing outside as three of them harassed the remaining one. They chased him into the lightly falling rain, made attempts to trip him, gave him nudges and shoves and apparently insulted him repeatedly. Before too long, he was alone as the rain began to fall more heavily on his head.

Crowds of happy people can drive those left out more deeply into their lonely worlds. Holiday times when "everyone else" heads to be with friends leave the rest with feeling as empty as the leftover wrapping paper. Even celebrities with literally millions of fans, hundreds who line up for their autographs, and dozens competing to sign contracts with them have no one who deeply understands and cares about their thoughts playing in the deep recesses of their minds. My neighbor did some repair work at Michael Jordan's mansion during one of his championship seasons with the Chicago Bulls. As he described entering the gated property, passing security cameras, and seeing a private theater that kept Michael from being mobbed with fans while going out in public, I couldn't help but feel the isolating prison of popularity.

It Wasn't Meant to Be That Way

God made mankind in His image, loved him and did everything possible to have a deep and personal relationship with him. He describes His desire to communicate in these words: "They heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). You'd think someone who heard God's voice would be delighted to speak with Him. Here's what happened. They "hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God" (Genesis 3:8). Sin, disobedience to God, had made them uncomfortable in His presence. "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God" (Isaiah 59:2). The root of all loneliness in our world and in our lives, though sometimes buried deep beneath the surface, is the sin that separates mankind from God. The ultimate separation is "the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 13).

It Doesn't Have to Be That Way

God deeply loves both you and me, and so Jesus, God's Son, came to earth. "He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). His interest in both of us was deep and personal. He wants us both to be able to say with confident assurance, "The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). He tells us "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Christ Jesus came personally to bring us back to Himself. Only stubborn pride would refuse His love. He promises to those who come to Him as their Saviour, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).

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