But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praises to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds - His name is the LORD - and rejoice before Him. A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing... (Psalm 68:3-6)
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Let's do a quick exercise...Wherever you find yourself at, I want you to close your eyes and imagine yourself at a family dinner with your whoever you consider family (friends are most definitely included).
Imagine the joy that you would have as you recline next to the people that you love so much. Experience the warmth in the room as you feel completely understood and accepted. And bring to mind all the types of conversations that you would have - both the deep and the wonderfully shallow, yet great conversations.
My guess is that even the imagination of this event makes you smile. For when you are surrounded by the people you call family, you feel anything but alone.
But for some reason, we - being believers; being a part of a "divine family;" and having relationships with other members of this "divine family" - can be surrounded by them for a whole day and feel nothing but loneliness and isolation.
I know this because I have felt it. I know this because I have witnessed it. And I know this because I have heard it time after time.
The Psalm today points to the fact that our God is a perfect and glorious Father. It points to the reality that He has delivered us from the separating bondage of sin and has brought us into His Kingdom; His family. And It points to our needed response when experiencing His Fatherly grace.
So if we - who were once lonely - have been set in families (as the psalm says), then why do we still feel that loneliness?
I believe that it has a lot to do with this: If we never let anyone inside, we will always feel outside.
You see, to often, we view our relationship with God as merely a singular relationship. But everywhere in scripture, we find that the opposite is true. When we have a relationship with God, we are brought into an ongoing relationship with other people.
We miss that the Lord is not the only one at that "communion table." Instead, we also have every other believer walking the Christian life sitting on both our right and left.
"But they do not understand what I am going through...and there is no point in having to tell them," we think.
The reality, however, is that while we are thinking this, we discount the fact at everyone else is also thinking this; that everyone else believes that "no one understands."
But we all do. Pain is pain. Loneliness is loneliness. Anger is anger. Loss is loss. Death is Death. Sin is sin. Doubt is doubt. And brokenness is brokenness.
And until we let people into our inner lives, we will never experience the reality of the Father's Kingdom that we are already a part of.
Surrounding you are people that struggle with your struggles; feel joy in the things that you feel joy in; and have a desire to commit to the very same God-things that you desire to commit to. But what is holding them back - what is holding you back - is often that false feeling of loneliness.
Today, realize that God is a Father to the fatherless and that He has already set the lonely in families. When we have this realization, we can then have the correct response of gladness, joy, praise, and glory to God.
So today, who can you let in? We pray that you have a day of rejoicing in this glorious and very real family. And we would love to know: How has the Church been a family to you? Comment the answer in today's IG post (instagram.com/declareglory).
Greg, Declare Glory