If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:10
I was surprised to hear some statistics regarding the number of homeless individuals who, even after receiving assistance, end up living back on the street. The statistics were linked to people who had belonged to a program designed to help them back on their feet. The clients were offered a life that mimicked that of the world around them including their own small apartment, meals, employment training and even treatment or help for medical or social problems. They did live alone but ate all their meals in a communal setting. Once they were able, the clients moved into their own apartment located elsewhere in the city. Staff did follow up with former clients to see how they were faring. They would find some outside their facility talking with those who continued to live there or at food kitchens where the homeless hung out. They were surprised at the number who were back living on the streets only months after leaving the program. When asked what happened the usual response from the client was, “its terrible being alone all the time”. It would seem that even though they had a home, a job and some material possessions, they missed relationships with others and so they went back to the street to feel part of a community.
God created humanity to be in relationship with Him and with others. He made Eve because He noted that it was not good for Adam to be alone. Jesus taught that God’s intent for His human creation was for them to unconditionally love Him and one another and that could only happen if we sought fellowship with Him and each other. Without a connection to other people we cannot experience life as God desires; we need to be with others. When Solomon wrote the words in Ecclesiastes 4:10 he was sharing how awful it was for someone not to have a friend. How awful it is not to have someone visit on holidays, phone or text, or share a cup of coffee and chat. He was saying how awful it is that so many people in our cities are surrounded by others but stare out their windows day after day wondering why their family does not call them, why the neighbours never say hi, or why they go to sleep every evening feeling so lonely. When someone experiences loneliness it can be overwhelming and yet it could be alleviated with just a few kind words.
ACTION: Do you think there is something we could do to make someone feel alive? Do you have family, friends, and neighbours who would jump for joy at being invited for a cup of coffee? There are seniors living in nursing homes, prisoners locked up, and hospitals filled with lonely people who would love to have a small group visit them. Are we too busy to listen someone into existence?
PRAYER: Gracious Father, we come before you to humbly ask that you comfort those who are experiencing moments of loneliness. We ask that you be their shelter in the midst of the storm, that you walk beside them every step of the way. We know many feel so alone, they cry out for attention, in desperation, looking for some sort of acknowledgement from a single soul. Lord, touch our hearts so we can offer some kindness that may bring lasting benefits to these men, women and children. Amen