By Ryan Diaz
Loneliness is a common feeling. According to recent statistics, 52 percent of Americans report feeling lonely, and 47 percent say their relationships with others aren’t meaningful. If we’re each being honest, our desire for connection is often left wanting. We are let down, left out, and pushed to the side. We want to be known and loved. But those we entrust with our hearts leave us wanting, and even if they desire to know and love us, they can only give so much.
In light of this, Jesus’s promise of His presence is a radical departure from our cultural norms. Looking forward to Jesus, Isaiah says, “I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not abandon them” (Isaiah 42:16). Unlike those who have let us down or left us out, Jesus promises to remain with us, to stand with us in the darkness—in the deep places of our lives where others aren’t willing to go.
When we find our belonging in the presence of God, we free others from bearing our burdens that belong to Him. We allow humans to be humans, and in doing so, we are free to hold our relationships with open hands, receive those God puts in our way and forgive those who fail to love us as we deserve.
Not only do we free others from the weight of our expectations, but we are also freed to love with a reckless abandon that models the radical love of God. We forgo the transactional connection that dominates human relationships and instead love people with God-given freedom that makes room for the faults and failures of others. Confident in our adoption, we move forward into a broken world with the same freedom Jesus possessed during His ministry. Confident in His sonship, Jesus can receive the worst humanity has to offer while extending the best of what He has to give. He has nothing to gain, nothing to prove, and nothing to lose. He is saturated with the ever-present love of the Father, which enables Him to extend His Father’s love to those who choose to despise and reject Him.
In Christ Jesus, there are no orphans, only beloved sons and daughters who are free to love a broken world. Assured of who we are in God, we move into those broken spaces and declare that there are no orphans in Christ and no one is alone. God is making for Himself a new family, and He sends us to proclaim His message of reconciliation, announcing to a lonely world, “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.”