The Solitary

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He was all alone.

The warm waves of a summer ocean crashed nearby.

Was he hungry?

I would say that’s the best guess.

Searching the shoreline, all by himself.

You know, I was like that once.

In fact, it was a very long once.

I felt all alone.

Big, looming circumstances in my life crashed nearby at unpredictable intervals.

Was I hungry?

No guessing needed—I was.

Not so much for food.

I always had something to eat.

My hunger was for acceptance.

Guidance.

Forgiveness.

Belonging.

Holding those four in a tight grip was my hunger for love.

When I was “out there” in life, all by myself, God rescued me.

At nineteen years old, I was ready for the redemption.

Just like the bird, I was up against a big world and there I was, spindly and small.

When I prayed and asked for forgiveness, it came.

I was not alone anymore.

God settles the solitary in a home;
    he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
    but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

–Psalm 68:6

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I Was in Prison

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“Do you want to go to church?” my husband asked.

We were out of town on a trip and the next day would be Sunday.

Just down the highway from where we were staying, we had noticed a church.

That’s where we would go.

When Sunday morning came, we pulled into the parking lot and began searching for the entrance.

Making our way inside the large building, we sat down in a meeting room.

Quickly, we were greeted by the pastor who told us that the next service would be across the hallway.

We made our way to the sanctuary and found seats.

A man came in alone and sat down in front of us.

He seemed to have some physical issues, with one shoulder higher than the other.

It was difficult for him to look up and straight ahead.

His pants were badly torn.

He was wearing pull over rain boots, and it wasn’t raining.

When the pastor spoke on a specific scripture, the man took his own Bible and looked up the passage to follow along.

The Bible was worn and dirty.

When the service was over, my husband and I spoke with the man.

His name was George.

He told us he had been coming to the church for about a year.

We offered to take him out for lunch.

He said that he already had plans.

I was disappointed.

I had even hoped that if he had lunch with us, we could also take him to a store and buy some pants for him.

We said goodbye and went on our way.

I will remember George for a long time, sitting there, bent over, turning the pages of his Bible.

We didn’t actually get to help him in any way, but God knows that we cared.

 

Jesus once told the story of the sheep and the goats:

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

—Matthew 25:31-36

Those on the right asked Him when it was that they gave Him food or drink, invited Him in, clothed Him, took care of Him when He was sick, or visited Him in prison.

He replied by saying that whatever they had done for the least of people, they had done for Him.

As each day unfolds, I need to remember that.

If Jesus had badly torn clothing, would I want to get new clothes for Him?

If Jesus looked hungry, would I want to buy food for Him?

Jesus wasn’t sitting in the pew in front of me last Sunday in church—–

 

but George was.

 

 

clothed me