This I know, that in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
(Job 19:26,27)

SIN SEPARATES US FROM ALL WE WERE MEANT TO LOVE, AND IN OUR SEPARATENESS WE LONG FOR WHAT WE’VE LOST. Alienated from God, from other people, and even from the natural world around us, we live within the walls of a lonely prison. We faintly “remember” walking in the garden with our God, Friend with friend — and we vaguely dream of doing that again.

Satan tempted us to believe that self-rule was a wise choice. He said it would lead to a better life than God’s law would allow. But Satan lied, and things didn’t work out as he said they would. We are the victims of a cruel hoax, a lie concerning God’s law. That law does not interfere with anything that could accurately be called life. To the contrary, it’s the very thing that would have made real life possible! It was meant to connect us to God and our fellow creatures in ways that would truly fill us up and provide all we were designed to enjoy. When we rebelled against God’s law, we disconnected ourselves from the possibility of any real relationship. And in doing so, we said good-bye to every good thing that comes from real relationship.

So for now, even the best of our relationships fall short and we can only imagine what it would be like to be perfectly related to everyone around us. Even if we allow Christ to bring us into a redeemed earthly relationship with God, our connections in this world will only be a foretaste of the fellowship that waits for us later. Yet this hope is the single thing in life most worthy of our pursuit, no matter what lesser things we have to let go of. Hell will be a writhing mass of lonely beings, utterly cut off by their own choice from anything outside of themselves. None of us really want that, and yet we drift toward that destiny by refusing to let God lead us out of our isolation and into real relationship. When we decide what, if anything, to do about our loneliness, we are deciding between life and death.

“The deepest need of man is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness” (Erich Fromm).

Gary Henry — +

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