Okay... I know. I'm one of them. My Facebook page gives me away. And so does the screensaver on my computer. And my chock-full photo file on my iPhone. And of course there's the poster-sized close-up photo on a table in my office.
I'm a Grandma... or Nana (the name I've landed on). Jadice Elizabeth is 22 pounds of roly-poly 10-month-old sweetness, and I couldn't be any more smitten. And while her only word (so far) is "Da-Da", I'm convinced that behind those twinkling blue eyes, what she's really thinking is "Na-Na" (but we'll just keep that our little secret). Sometimes I find myself looking at her and wondering, "Does she have any idea how much she's loved... adored... cherished?" And then she plants on my cheek an open-mouthed-slobbery-kiss and I'm okay with the fact that she doesn't know.
Because of my new status, I've been finding myself in the strangest places. Wandering through the toy department, squeezing stuffed animals... digging through baby clothes for just the right dress with matching headband... discovering an entire aisle dedicated solely to children's videos (Bubble Guppies... really?). Yes, ten months ago, when Baby Girl was born, my world got a whole lot bigger.
But... the world in general, on the other hand, got a little bit smaller. On December 31, 2012, our granddaughter became the 7,121,633,341 person alive on the planet. That's over 7.1 billion people! According to the information page called "POPClocks" (a division of the U. S. Census Board that projects the estimation of the world population at any given time of day), a baby is born somewhere in the world every eight seconds (that's a lot of smitten grandparents!). But my question is this... When you hear tabulated facts like that, it has to make you wonder. Why is it that one of the most common problems people face is... loneliness.
Author Chuck Swindoll told of an ad in a Kansas newspaper. Beside a phone number were written the words, "I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment - for $5." Sounds silly, I know. But it was reported that this person started getting calls immediately, and was soon receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. Hmmm... How did that popular Beatles song go... "Ah, look at all the lonely people." The surprising paradox of loneliness in an overcrowded world. How can that be?
(Ron Mainse teaches on Divine Friendships in our Loneliness)
Before any of the 7.1 billion of us were born, before the multitudes that lived before us existed, before the beginning of time, there was God... Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There was relationship. In his book, The Sacred Romance (a book I highly recommend), author John Eldredge observed that the story "begins not with God alone, the Author at His desk, but God in relationship - intimacy beyond our wildest imagination. The Trinity is at the centre of the universe; perfect relationship is the heart of all reality... we long for intimacy because we are made in the image of perfect intimacy."
Longing for intimacy... for relationship... for a connection. We all have that longing. We all need to have it fulfilled. And Jesus, God-the-Son, does just that.
"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God... For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ's blood on the cross." ~ Colossians 1:15, 19-20
A Divine connection. An eternal intimacy. All because of God's amazing grace.
But that doesn't mean that the rest of us are off the hook. As those reconciled into a love relationship with God, His very Spirit alive in us compels us to reach outside of ourselves. In fact, meeting the universal need of loneliness is one way in which we live out our faith.
"Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible." 3 John 1:5 (The Message)
I like that. When we put our love for others into action, we make our faith visible. A faith that says, "You matter. You're not alone. You're loved beyond imagination." And although, just like a cherished child, we often don't realize the depth of God's incredible love, we are loved, just the same. And Intimacy, in its purest form, is waiting with Open Arms.
Ah, look at all the lonely people... and share with them His remarkable love.