Monday, June 1, 2009

Never Alone

We live in a fast-paced world. We hurry to work, appointments, and errands. Airports, freeways, and buses are crowded with people rushing to and from places. In the process, it is easy to lose track of our friends, neighbors, and family. And it is easy to feel forgotten.

As I visit my elderly friends and those who struggle with health issues, they comment that loneliness is one of their most daunting challenges. As we lose our sense of community, some become more isolated and desolate. Mother Teresa said, "Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty."

Years ago my friend, Arline, lost her husband in combat in Viet Nam. Arline lived far from her home and was devastated by her husband's death. She and her husband had been married for two months. A member of Arline's church left her family for three days and stayed with Arline until her parents arrived. This kind woman held Arlene at night when the darkness felt unbearable and consoled Arlene during the day when she was paralyzed with grief.

Not all of us have such an angelic neighbor, nor are we always as compassionate when we see someone in need. When I cared for my mother during her declining years, I discovered these words of Isaiah and read them to her often: "Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."

Although we may not have a person who carries us through our grief, we always have One who will. Isaiah said: "In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old."

Last week we purchased these piece of Greg Olsen art and hung it in our entryway. It reminds me that we are never alone, that the Savior waits to lift us and carry us as we reach out to Him. It shows His unwavering love and ability to strengthen us when we feel most vulnerable and alone.

M. Louise Haskins wrote, "And I said to the one who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the Unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'"

May we find peace amid sorrow as we remember that we are never alone and that God will sustain, lift, and redeem us as we trust in Him.

© Carol Brown

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