The US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, has declared loneliness an epidemic.
60% of Americans struggle with loneliness and isolation - 36% chronically. Lack of social
connectedness is a problem that has been growing over the past 100 years, but especially so since the arrival of the cell phone, and then came Covid. This problem has had a devastating
effect on our health -both physical and mental. Those chronically experiencing loneliness have a
29% increased risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, a 50% increased risk of
dementia, and more than 60% increased risk of premature death, plus depression and anxiety,
addiction, and type 2 diabetes (CDC.gov/emotional wellbeing)
“We are all looking for that place where we belong unconditionally. This kind of belonging is impossible without authenticity and vulnerability – two super nutrients for community.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 23, 2023)
God knows all of this. He made us this way – in His image, with a need for and a love of relationship. Before the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created man, they had communion together; a perfect relationship of loving and serving one another – with great joy. The Word of life – eternal life – chose to make a way for us broken, wounded, sinful humans to have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ through the cross (1 John 1). His name is “Immanuel, which means God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love each other, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:9-12)
Chris and I have been blessed to be in the “community of believers” since we were married. Our brothers and sisters in Christ have helped us go through many trials, as we all share in the sufferings of this broken world. From financial trials, to serious physical challenges, to heartbreaks and disappointments, we have experienced God’s faithfulness and provision for us,
often through the gifts and ministries of our community group.
These dear brothers and sisters in Christ have prayed for us, provided accountability, helped us raise our girls with their eyes on Jesus, and now encourage us in our last laps to finish the race well.
Like our dear neighbor and friend (and our daughters’ 3 rd grandmother), Mrs. Wright, would say when asked if she was lonely (because she lived alone and never went anywhere): “Lonely? I am never alone. Jesus is with me all day and all night. And we have an on-going conversation that never ends.” If you want to hear some testimonies about God’s faithfulness in times of despair and loneliness, ask William and Dolores Jiron, Joan Tallant, Kara Schug, or ask me more about Mrs. Wright. You will be lifted up by God’s goodness. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
So, what do we do, as the church, brothers and sisters in Christ?