Psalm 68:6, "God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."
Yvette Vickers, a former [model] and B-movie star, best known for her role in Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, would have been 83 in August 2011, but nobody knows exactly how old she was when she died. According to the Los Angeles coroner's report, she lay dead for the better part of a year before a neighbor and fellow actress, a woman named Susan Savage, noticed cobwebs and yellowing letters in her mailbox, reached through a broken window to unlock the door, and pushed her way through the piles of junk mail and mounds of clothing that barricaded the house. Upstairs, she found Vickers's body, mummified, near a heater that was still running. Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the empty space.
The Los Angeles Times posted a story [about Vickers' death] that quickly went viral. Within two weeks … Vickers's lonesome death was already the subject of 16,057 Facebook posts and 881 tweets. She had long been a horror-movie icon …. Now she was an icon of a new and different kind of horror: our growing fear of loneliness. Certainly she received much more attention in death than she did in the final years of her life. With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship. Savage later told Los Angeles magazine that she had searched Vickers's phone bills for clues about the life that led to such an end. In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and internet sites.
Vickers's web of connections had grown broader but shallower, as has happened for many of us. We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible …. We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. [Steven Marche, "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" The Atlantic (May 2012)]
Among the blessings God bestows on us in Christ is the blessing of adoption. We have been brought into God’s family and made God’s children. From God we have received “the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father’” (Rom. 8:15). As far as our status is concerned, we are no longer “strangers and aliens” to the people of God but “members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19). Our adoption by God has many benefits— chief being we can call God, "our Father,"—but one we do not often think of is that by it God places us in a family with many brothers and sisters that we call the Church. God never intends for us to do life or faith alone. We are designed for community and so God provides the community we need.
As a Pastor I deal with many who struggle with loneliness. This modern epidemic is why I strive to make the Church where I serve not just a place for families but a family itself. If God creates in us a need, such as the need for family, He does so because He wants to meet that need. Do you belong to a Church family? (I'm not asking if you attend Church because you can do that and not belong to a Church family.) Are you involved in connecting with those who God has made your family? If not, isn't it time to make those connections?
Hebrews 10:25, "We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming" (God's Word Translation).
Prayer: Abba, Father, we thank You that You have placed us in families, people we are to love and who will love us in return. We thank You that You care for the lonely among us and by Your adoption of us we need not be lonely any longer. Help us to do a better job of loving those who are lonely and make the connections in our Church family we need. In Jesus name, Amen.