Recently I visited a longtime friend in the nearby regional hospital who had been transferred from surgery in the Vancouver area. He was recuperating, but was feeling kind of low. He informed me that his hip replacement surgery did not go that well. During the operation, they fractured his femur in several places, and he went through a lot of emotional trauma.
He felt especially down because when he went through a trial during his marriage, his wife would comfort him. He also said that when he faced problems then, his children would come and touch his arm and tell him, it would be all right, dad. With no mate, friends or family in the area, he found it extremely trying, and he was emotionally distraught after the surgery.
He knew about the promise from Christ, in Hebrews 13:5: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.'”
He also knew the admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation [or serious trial] has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Yet in spite of these Scriptures, he felt a deep loneliness, even on the verge of despair.
After coming home and during the next few days, I began to think about my visit. What I had experienced was something I could really relate to, having spent eleven months away from home in a hospital when I was six years old. It brought back those memories of missing family and friends. My parents, being poor, were only able to visit me three times during these eleven months, and my two brothers and one sister saw me only once. I felt very lonely and had feelings of despair.
When pondering this, it got me thinking how blessed are the brethren who can meet on the weekly Sabbath for services and live close to fellowship during the week. Some are scattered and some don’t even have a converted mate, yet they do the best they can by partaking of the weekly Internet service on the Sabbath. How much would they like to attend Church services in person! They look especially forward to the Festival of Tabernacles and other occasions when they can all be together to fellowship in person and to worship God together.
We may be lonely at times but never alone in the sense that we can have weekly contact with our brethren. If brethren are scattered, they at least worship together via the Internet. It is hoped that those who have opportunity to attend services in person take advantage of this great blessing on a regular and consistent basis; and that they who are fortunate enough to be able to congregate as a group never take for granted the opportunity to meet together for services.
As we move closer to the time of the Great Tribulation and as problems and trials will increase, let us never forget that precious and valuable promise from Christ–that He will NEVER leave or forsake us, whether it be in good times or in bad times, in adversity and in blessings. If we want Him to, He will be there, helping us through thick and thin, and His Church will never cease to exist either. That means, no matter what, we never have to be alone.