Sometimes loneliness is about isolation. More often, in my experience, it’s about feeling like no one knows you or can relate to you on a truly intimate level of understanding. As Christ-follower, this feeling of loneliness has come up a lot in my life — if I moved to a new place, started attending a new church or school, changed jobs, had friends move away, etc. I wasn’t lonely for a lack of people or for a lack of socializing: I was lonely for a community to which I belonged.
God brought me to Hebrews 11 and 12 on more than one occasion. Here we find what some people call “the hall of fame of faith.” We read of Abraham and Sarah, Rahab the harlot, Enoch, Noah and on and on.
“…who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. Hebrews 11:33-40
These are not made perfect apart from us. My dad always talks about how “the race of faith” isn’t a sprint or a marathon; it’s a relay race.
The heroes we read of passed their baton. We are connected to them; we carry forward towards the goal in which they put their faith.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1
Paul writes to the Hebrews that because these surround us, we must run with endurance, laying aside the things that hold us back. Many of these felt alone at times. Many of these followed God’s voice alone until He sent them help. We are part of them, and the Holy Spirit is in us, an advantage many of them never had.
Let yourself think about the weight of this: There is no hierarchy in the kingdom of God, only those who obey the voice of the Lord from a place of intimacy and those who do not. God sustained all of these, and God will sustain you. You’re part of a big story. And your role is crucial.
Don’t believe a lie that you’re in this on your own. You tie generations of believers together: The past is only linked to the future by us and what we do with the Good News.
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