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    Lonely Christmas

    The loneliest Christmas I ever spent was in my grandfathers’ cottage near Sakogu, northern Ghana. I was just 15, and my parents and siblings were a thousand kilometers away. In previous years, when I had been with them and my village friends, Christmas was always big and memorable. But this Christmas was quiet and lonely. As I lay on my floor mat early Christmas morning, I remembered a local song: The year has ended; Christmas has come; the Son of God is born; peace and joy to everybody. Mournfully, I sang it over and over.

    My grandmother came and asked, “What song…

    Nobody Likes Me

    As a child, when I felt lonely, rejected, or sorry for myself, my mother would sometimes attempt to cheer me up by singing a popular ditty: “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms.” After a smile came from my downcast face, she’d help me see the many special relationships and reasons for gratitude I truly did have.

    When I read that David felt no one cared for him, that ditty rings in my ears. Yet David’s pain wasn’t at all exaggerated. Where I had feelings of loneliness typical for my age, David actually had good reason…

    The Explanation For Our Difficulties

    If you are going through a time of isolation, seemingly all alone, read John 17 . It will explain exactly why you are where you are— because Jesus has prayed that you “may be one” with the Father as He is. Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life? Since you became a disciple, you cannot be as independent as you used to be.

    God reveals in John 17 that His purpose is not just to answer our prayers, but that through prayer we might come to discern His mind. Yet there is one prayer which God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus— “. . .

    When God Fills Us

    “What had I done?” It should have been one of the most exciting times of my life. Instead, it was one of the loneliest. I’d just gotten my first “real” job after college, in a city hundreds of miles from where I grew up. But the thrill of that big step quickly faded. I had a tiny apartment. No furniture. I didn’t know the city. I didn’t know anyone. The job was interesting, but the loneliness felt crushing.

    One night, I sat at home with my back against the wall. I opened my Bible and stumbled into Psalm 16, where verse 11…

    How Do We Love Others If We’re Lonely?

    I got into a great conversation with a girl at a party recently. She’s been a friend for a long time, but it went so well I started to wish she was more than a friend. But I could tell she didn’t want the same.

    Christmas Can Be a Time of Loneliness

    The Christmas season sometimes feels like an incredibly lonely one for me, and listening in on other people’s exciting holiday plans makes things worse. “Am I the only one doomed to be spending Christmas holed up in Auckland with my family?” I think.

    Seeing God

    Author and pastor Erwin Lutzer recounts a story about television show host Art Linkletter and a little boy who was drawing a picture of God. Amused, Linkletter said, “You can’t do that because nobody knows what God looks like.”

    “They will when I get through!” the boy declared.

    We may wonder, “What is God like?” “Is He good?” “Is He kind?” “Does He care?” The simple answer to those questions is Jesus’ response to Philip’s request: “Lord, show us the Father.” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has…

    Carried Through

    I recently stumbled across some of my journals from college and couldn’t resist taking time to reread them. Reading the entries, I realized I didn’t feel about myself then the same as I do today. My struggles with loneliness and doubts about my faith felt overwhelming at the time, but looking back now I can clearly see how God has carried me to a better place. Seeing how God gently brought me through those days reminded me that what feels overwhelming today will one day be part of a greater story of His healing love.

    Psalm 30 is a celebration psalm…

    The Holy Spirit gives us that true sense of belonging

    Do you ever feel like you’re alone in this world? Today on Discover the Word, the group will reveal why the Holy Spirit can give us that true sense of belonging that we all crave. Find hope in the truth that you’re a child of God, accepted, beloved, and part of a family! Hear a […]

    A Letter To All First-Year Students

    Hey there, You made it! You’ve survived the plane, bus, or train ride and have arrived at a new season of life. Welcome to university—your home for the next three to four years!

    Never Forsaken

    Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” With that in mind, I read an online article describing “The Top 8 Deadliest Prisons in the World.” In one of these prisons every prisoner is held in solitary confinement.

    We are intended to live and relate in relationships and community, not in isolation. This is what makes solitary confinement such a harsh punishment.

    Isolation is the agony Christ suffered when His eternal relationship with the Father was broken on the cross. We hear this in His cry captured in Matthew 27:46: “About three…

    Deeply Loved

    Years ago I had an office in Boston that looked out on the Granary Burying Ground where many prominent American heroes are buried. There one can find the gravestones for John Hancock and Samuel Adams, two signers of the Declaration of Independence, and just a few feet beyond that is Paul Revere’s marker.

    But no one really knows where in this burial ground each body is buried because the stones have been moved many times—sometimes to make the grounds more picturesque and other times so lawn mowers could fit between them. And while the Granary features approximately 2,300 markers, closer to 5,000…

    Through It All

    God not only created us and knows us, but He is in tune to our every thought and emotion. He is there when we are anxious, excited, nervous, delighted, and heartbroken. He is there, and He understands.

    The Lonely Season

    Amid the pile of post-Christmas mail I discovered a treasure—a handmade Christmas card painted on repurposed cardstock. Simple watercolor strokes evoked a scene of wintry hills livened with evergreens. Centered at the bottom, framed by red-berried holly, was this hand-printed message:

    Peace be with you!

    The artist was a prisoner and a friend of mine. As I admired his handiwork, I realized I hadn’t written to him in 2 years!

    Long ago, another prisoner was neglected as he waited in prison. “Only Luke is with me,” wrote the apostle Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:11). “No one came to my support, but everyone…

    When Jesus Felt Utterly Alone

    We all need solitude sometimes. But we wouldn’t like it 24/7, especially if that solitude was a form of punishment. Yet even a prisoner in solitary confinement for a lifetime would not suffer as Jesus did. On the cross, God the Father turned His face from His only Son, leaving Jesus utterly alone. On “Discover the Word,” we will talk about when Jesus was “deserted,” as foreshadowed in Psalm 22. Listen today to “Discover the Word”!

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