recently i was watching the pilot episode of a series called “once upon a time.” one of the main female characters goes home on her birthday and has a single cupcake with a single candle and celebrates her birthday all alone. she makes a wish that she would not have to continue to spend her birthdays all alone…the interesting thing is that she lives in a big city…amidst a virtual sea of people…yet she is totally alone…

there are so many people in the world that are alone. they walk by us on the street and might say hi to us in the store. but when it comes to the intimacy of basic human contact, they are alone, and they are in their own private torment as a result…and many of them do unspeakable things as a result…feeling hopeless and helpless…and alone.

why is being alone so difficult? because God didn’t make us to be alone. He made us in His image and He Himself exists within a framework of community…we call it the Trinity…this is the inexplicable multiplicity of the singularity of God…or to put it another way, this is the concept of the many persons of the God who is ONE God that we just really don’t get. but i don’t have to get it to adore it. God has always existed in community, and this is part of His image in us…a desire for community…a desire for family…a desire to belong to a group or a tribe…yet so many go through life totally unnoticed by most of us…which is equivalent to their own private and personal hell. hell is an interesting concept in this way, because my take on it is that even though it is immensely populated, there will be no fellowship…no camaraderie…in the vast population of hell itself i imagine people crowded in, bumping elbows…suffering…agonizing…and unaware that they have company…feeling totally isolated…separated…alone.

this is not God’s plan, nor His initial design…hell was a place created for the devil and his angels…not us…so His desire was never for us to have to go there…but He leaves that up to us…(i know there are some of you in total disagreement with me here….about who decides what…but it’s my blog!) when we talk about hell, we fixate on the flames….which is actually something that scholarship has debated over the years…but what has not been debated is that hell is an awful place…a place of separation…so that’s perhaps what we need to focus on…the fact that hell is pain, both physical and emotional…due to the perceived absence of the perfection and light of God.

so maybe we misunderstand two things…the reason for Him revealing to us the Trinity, and the important aspects of hell…maybe the reason He has revealed the Trinity is not so that we can figure Him out or explain Him, but so that we can see the importance of community…after His image…and maybe the important aspects of hell are not that it is a place of literal fire but that it is a place where fellowship and community are removed…and that it is a place of loneliness…

so what should all of this mean to us? it should mean that, just like the marines…we never leave a man (or woman) behind…it should mean that we as Christians exert a substantial portion of our time and energy engaging others with fellowship and community…and not just settle for seeing each other for an hour or so on sunday morning…

Father, forgive us of the times in which others need us and we neglect…forgive us when we are “too busy” to answer the phone or stop by…forgive us for not listening to Your leadership when You put others on our minds and hearts…You never mean for any of us to be alone…and You never leave us nor forsake us…and You would never have us do that to one another…forgive us for our insensitivity…and for leaving others behind.

God has never been alone…and He doesn’t intend for His children to be either…so let us be certain that we are sensitive to the hopelessness of others who feel very lonely…yes…that means that we may need to talk to that person that is impossible to get away from…who is probably like that because they are lonely…and it means that we may need to engage that person that is just uncomfortable or awkward to be around…or smelly…or dirty…or even just mean…and why? because they are alone…and they don’t have to be…they can have Him….and if they have Him…they get us too…and we get them…and that is what being a part of the Body is all about.

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2 comments on “alone

  1. Matt says:

    Enjoyed the blog. I haven’t thought much about the loneliness that is sure to exist in Hell. I do know it won’t be the “party” that many in our world wish that is was. Being eternally separated from God and therefore anything good is an awful punishment. I am also burdened by your comments about never leaving anyone behind. I too often find myself guilty of ministering to those who are there, those who show interest and not “worrying” about those that aren’t or have fallen away. God help us and God Bless you!

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