The Answer to Loneliness

Former England Football Captain, David Beckham, published an exclusive extract from his new book in The Timeson 28 October 2013.  In it he describes being sent off in the World Cup Finals in 1998: ‘It could cost us the match.’  David went back to the dressing room.  ‘The rules stated that I had to stay in there for the remainder of the match.’  England Lost.  We were out of the World Cup.  ‘When the England players came back into the dressing room, no one breathed a word to me.  There was almost complete silence.  I could feel my stomach tightening even more.  I gulped, breathed in, and gulped again.  I was in a packed changing room but I had never felt so lonely in my life.  I was isolated and afraid ... I was trapped in my own sense of guilt and anxiety.’

 

God does not intend for us to be lonely and isolated.  Loneliness has been described as ‘a homesickness for God’.  God created us for community – calling us into relationship with him and with other human beings.

 

One of the main reasons for loneliness is ‘quarrelling’ which leads to the breakdown of relationships.  We see this wherever we look – broken marriages, family bust-ups, fallouts between friends, work colleagues and neighbours.  Adam and Eve’s friendship with God was broken.  This led to a separation between them and God. Consequently, people increasingly become isolated in their aloneness.

A ‘New’ community. The local church is the hope for the world,’ writes Bill Hybels, ‘There is nothing like the local church when it is working well.’  The church in the New Testament is described as ‘the people of God’.  The people of God gather in local churches all over the world no longer isolated and alone, we are part of the most amazing community.

 

It is here in this community where we find a place of belonging and acceptance, a place where we can bear one another’s sorrows and share one another’s joys. It’s a place where we find friendship and grow in love and trust sharing the journey of life with all its peaks and troughs.

 

In the life of our church recently we have had the joy of marriage, the celebration of new babies and the sadness of loss and grief. These experiences are part of our shared humanity. How much better to live life in community with others than to bear it alone?

 

The Invitation

 

The church exists as an invitation to the world to come and enjoy the benefits of life in relationship with God and with each other. That doesn’t mean the church is perfect – far from it – we are all a work in progress. But it does mean we are committed to working through our difficulties and misunderstandings allowing God’s love to be the glue that holds us together and enriches our lives.

 

As we approach Valentine’s Day in February, may we all know a deeper reality of God’s lovein our lives, moving out from amongst us and touching the lives of others.