We’ve all experienced that horrible feeling of being left out- those times when we’ve felt on the edge of a clique: an outsider, unwanted and unknown. Loneliness bites hard, it’s a bitter taste which opens up self doubts that become like poison to our self-esteem. Whether it’s regularly, or just occasionally, we all know what it feels like to be on the fringes of something. Loneliness may even occur when we look like we’re in the ‘popular crowd’- a large circle of friends but who really knows me?
Whatever our experiences in life, at some point we’ve all felt on the edge… we’ve all felt lonely.
A few months ago, I was sitting in a church sermon when the speaker quoted Mother Teresa saying:
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness”.
There’s so much truth in that statement, since being loved, accepted and wanted is something we all crave for- isn’t it? Just last night, I was reflecting on how at points in my life loneliness has eaten into the riches of my joy, peace and love. Suddenly I began to think – how much worse must it be for those who are persecuted?
I was sitting in a Youth Group session, reading a true story of a persecuted Christian, when my heart started to bleed for the persecuted church…
There was a long time between me first hearing about Open Doors, and the first time I began to feel passionate about the persecuted church. I was thirteen when I first knew the facts, but it wasn’t until I was sixteen that a flame was lit deep inside my soul. I was sitting in a Youth Group session, reading a true story of a persecuted Christian, when my heart started to bleed for the persecuted church…
A few weeks earlier we had been writing letters to victims of persecution. Damaris was the lady I wrote to – her husband had been burnt alive just eight days after they had got married because he was a Christian. The immense pain, loneliness and grief had broken Damaris’s heart, she cried out: “I need to know that I’m not alone’. At that moment I felt full of empathy and inspired as I wrote at letter of encouragement to her… but almost immediately afterwards, in the busyness of life, I forgot about it.
But- God didn’t let me forget about it!
That article we were reading in the Youth Group session, a few weeks later, was all about how Damaris had been deeply impacted by the letters of encouragement she had received from all around the world. “I have seen the hand of the Lord.” It was only then that I was hit in the core. I was hit in the core about how suffering is real even though I can’t see it. I was hit in the core about how encouragement can cure loneliness. But- most importantly I was hit in the core about how I need to do something.
The edge is a dangerous place- and if we don’t do something then somebody’s going to fall down. Are you alright with that?
1.Quote from Damaris in Open Doors Magazine May 2013
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.