All The Lonely People
by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
For a variety of reasons, I rarely watch videos posted on friends’ Facebook walls. But this week I broke my rule after seeing the same video pop up time and time again on the walls of a wide range of Facebook friends. The video was titled “What's Goin On.” People were clearly moved by the video, so I clicked it and watched.
It was a video made by a young man named Jonah who was getting ready to enter eighth grade at the time. The video was simple—just him in front of his webcam. He held index cards that he’d written on up to the camera as a song played in the background. Through his cards, he told about how kids started bullying him in first grade. In second grade, he started cutting. And now, as an almost eighth grader he was afraid to go back to school, because he knew he’d be bullied every day.
I watched, and I thought, How tragic. How sad. And I prayed for Jonah—I prayed that God would comfort him and that he’d meet godly friends who would love him and show him the hope that he can find in and through Christ. Now, I should note that there are also several videos on YouTube that question the validity of Jonah’s video. Some suggest that he may have made up his story for attention. But whether this one particular video is truth or fiction, the fact remains that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of “Jonahs” across the country who are hurting and lonely. In fact, chances are, you know at least one yourself.
I actually thought about Jonah several time this week. And as he came to mind, so did the song “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. I have always loved that song, but I have to admit that it’s a little haunting. In case you’re not familiar with it, it tells the story of a lonely woman who stares out her window “wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door.” She lives alone and dies alone. The words to the chorus are as follows: “All the lonely people, where do they all come from? / All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”
That’s a good question, isn’t it? The reality is that in this day and age, no one should be lonely. After all, we’re more “connected” now that we ever have been. Right? I mean, chances are you carry your phone around with you wherever you go, ensuring that you can keep in contact with everyone and anyone at a moment’s notice. Texting enables us to “talk” to people even when we can’t actually talk, and through social networking we can keep in touch with people who we didn’t even know we wanted to keep in touch with. Technology has, in essence, guaranteed that the average American will never be alone.
And, yet, there are lonely people everywhere. In every state, in every city, on every block, there are lonely people—people who are hurting and scared and desperate.
Lonely people—they are everywhere. In fact, you may be one of them. But you know what? You don’t have to be lonely. The truth is that no one does.
This is what Jonah and every other lonely man, woman, and child needs to know. You don’t have to be alone. I am reminded of Moses’ speech to the Israelites as he prepares them to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Moses himself would not live to make the journey, but he sent his people off with the following proclamation in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” And in verse 8, Moses repeats to Joshua (the new leader of the Israelites), “And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
Moses isn’t telling the Israelites that Joshua will always be there to support them. He doesn’t tell them to stay close and rely on each other for strength. No, he stands before them as an old man who has been through the ringer and declares to them that God, the Great I Am, the Creator of the universe Himself goes with them. It’s God they should rely on. It’s God who will never forsake them. It’s God!
And that’s what you need to understand, my friend. You can have a personal relationship with the same God whom Moses walked and talked with. And because of that, you never have to be alone.