by J. Connolly @ http://www.christiandoctrine.com
It is a sad fact that in our present day, there are very many Christians who are isolated and alone in their faith, knowing no other Christians locally. I can attest to this, because for several years I was one of them. I also know of Christians – either directly through email contact, or indirectly through others – who are alone, or very nearly alone in their local area.
The circumstances of the isolated Christian vary widely: You may be a new Christian, in whom a change has suddenly been wrought, resulting in you being made ‘different’ to your peers. Alternatively, you may be a long established Christian who has perhaps left (or been driven out of) a false church. Whatever the case, the isolated Christian is left with two options: either to subdue your new faith and conform yourself to the world – a foolish exercise that God will neither bless nor commend: Or separate yourself from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17), and face isolation.
As one who spent several years alone in the faith, I have a few thoughts to share on the matter. It is my hope that they might be of some help to others who may be in a similar situation.
The first thing to recognise in the midst of our earthly problems (and this goes for all problems) is this: God knows your plight. Does the lonely Christian, who is grappling with feelings of intense loneliness and possibly rejection, find this fact to be of much comfort? The answer is that they should, but at times our human frames have a habit of failing to properly acknowledge such truths, therefore denying the hope that is found therein. Such is the nature of the natural, carnal being! I know, because at times I also have found this knowledge – though readily accepted and believed by myself – to provide little tangible comfort.
Indeed, at other rare times, I have even felt that God Himself had abandoned me. That is a blunt statement, and it may shock some, but I am certain that many Christians have secretly felt likewise. I take no pride in admitting to having felt this way at times (indeed, it shames me), but it is my hope that other Christians who are struggling may see that they are not alone in their trials, and that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:9)