And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. – Matthew 9:35-36
Loneliness and social isolation are becoming leading health hazards in our world today. American Psychological Association states that in the US almost 42.6 million adults over age 45 are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness. It’s sad that broken family structures, over-saturation with technology, and cultural pressure from both individualistic and humanistic thought have contributed to a vast number of creatures fashioned in the image of God missing out on genuine life-giving connection. But, it’s also becoming clear that people trying to find the answers within themselves and the resources on their touch-screens is not working. It’s not only negatively affecting their bodies, it’s affecting their souls.
So, if Jesus were to walk around our neighborhoods today, you know what he’d see – a bunch of lonely people. And, his response would be the same. Just like in Jesus’ ministry and in the story of the prodigal, his heart would bubble over with compassion (Luke 15:20). Jesus saw the diseased and afflicted. Jesus saw the harassed and helpless. Jesus saw the sheep without a shepherd. And, the father saw his son burdened by filth and shame.
Thankfully, God’s character is the same with us. God sees. He sees everything about us – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Psalm 139 says there’s nothing we could do that is out of his sight and nowhere we can go to escape him. Depending on your view of God, this may scare you. Because when God sees there’s a deep sense of knowing. But this knowing is the deep sense of connection we’re all looking for – whether we’re scared of it or not. We want someone to see, to know and to love us no matter what. And the good news is that there’s nothing in us that God doesn’t already see and know and love no matter what.
Give yourself a few minutes to contemplate God as the God who sees, and thank God for the things in your life you’re glad he sees – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
By Yvonne Biel