Pre-social media, when the only two options for long-distance communication were snail mail or costly international calls on a land line, I was a young bride in Argentina. There were days when I felt a million light-years from my family and familiar friends. That’s when I learned what it means to be alone, yet not lonely.
Elderly Juan José lived outside of our city in a community of precarious thatched-roof, cracked-mud-floor, one-room homes. His work vehicle was a custom made tricycle with a huge, cumbersome box on the back. Battered and worn, it bore the marks of countless trips into town. There, Juan José daily picked up freshly butchered meat at the central market, and literally “peddled” it to his neighbors. It was hard work. Juan José was robust, but like his tricycle, he was old and battered.
As church planters, several of us went to visit Juan José one day. Inquiring about his family, he replied that he had no one; no siblings, spouse, children…he might still have had a relative in Brazil, he wasn’t sure. All alone, Juan José was content, because He knew God was with him.
An hour before most church services, we would usually find Juan José in the meeting hall, alone. Kneeling in prayer, we could hear him audibly and passionately worshiping God, who was with him. Juan José knew the secret that I had yet to learn. He was walking hand-in-hand with the Lord.
Multiple times throughout the Bible, we read God’s reassuring promise: “I will be with you.” As His children, we can live with that assurance, just like Juan José did.
Alone? Maybe. Lonely? Never! Our God is with us!
(Join me each Monday of 2016 for new posts from my quest to know God better)