Tuesday, June 13, 2017
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There's this beautiful spot on the coast of Maine called Bar Harbor, because there's a bar in the harbor. It's a sandbar that's totally exposed at low tide and totally submerged at high tide. The bar goes from the mainland to a little island called, (You'll never guess.) Bar Island. The island's okay, but you will not spend a lot of time there. Although some people do – a lot more time than they had planned to spend. When our family walked across the bar at low tide, we made sure to check that tide chart to see when the tide would be coming back. As we were walking back from the island, the bar was already a little narrower than it had been – the tide had started coming in. Then there were those intelligent tourists who waited a little too long to start back, and there was no way back! Now, you know what? No one has to be stranded on that island. There is a way off, if you take it!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Escape From Lonely Island."
Lonely Island is not on any map that I know of, but it's an island we've all spent time on. Loneliness is like an emotional island and we can get stranded there when we've been isolated, or ignored, or left out, or forgotten, maybe misunderstood, abandoned. Maybe even today finds you in the middle of another one of your lonely times.
The good news is you don't have to be stuck on Lonely Island. Loneliness is ultimately not a prison sentence. It's a choice! Feeling lonely is unavoidable. It's part of being human, but staying lonely is a choice. Just like Bar Island, there are some steps you can take to leave that island.
One way to make a lonely time a short time is to find somebody who needs you; to reach out from your loneliness, even if you don't feel like it, to make a difference for someone else. At a time when loneliness leaves you thinking mostly about you, it's important to decide to look beyond yourself. Another antidote to loneliness is to expand your world, especially your circle of friendships. If you take the risks to reach out to more people, you can reduce your trips to Lonely Island.
But even with all our efforts to cope with the lonely times, a lot of us carry this gnawing sense of loneliness with us most of the time. It isn't necessarily that there aren't people there for us, it's just that those people have never been enough to fill us up inside. It's like there's always something missing. Actually, like someone missing. Well, there is – the One you were made by; the One you were made for.
The incurable loneliness in the human heart is ultimately cosmic loneliness. We're lonely for God. No earth relationship has ever been able to fill the God-shaped hole in your heart. In the words of the Bible, in Isaiah 59:2, "Your sins have separated you from your God." Your sins are all those thousands of choices you've made in your lifetime that disregarded God's way for "your way." So here we are, away from the one person who has the love we're looking for. The only person who knows why we were created; the person we will meet the moment we die.
For our word for today from the Word of God, consider this promise from Jesus in light of the loneliness you know all too well. Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you. I will never forsake you." Think of it – unloseable love, unconditional love. Jesus' love for you took Him all the way to a brutal death on a cross, where He gave His life to pay your sin-bill with God. The one whose love you've been looking for all these years is yours the moment you say, "Jesus, I'm Yours." You are one step of faith away from the world's only "never leave you" love. Would you take that step today? "Jesus, I'm yours."
Our website is there to help you begin a whole new story in your life. In fact, that's the name of the website - ANewStory.com. I hope you'll go there as soon as you can today.
Your anchor relationship could begin this very day and it will never end. Never, no matter what else changes and no matter who else leaves. And you will have just spent your last day alone.