Before and since writing this devotion, I have often spoken with others about the importance of keeping in touch with those in our church or local community who are isolated for any reason and have become for us “out of sight, out of mind.” In one such recent conversation, someone expressed concern about telephoning a person they did not know, as well as hesitancy about offering support without knowing how long their help might be needed. They were very surprised when I spoke of the woman referred to in this devotion — how we had not known each other initially, and she had thought I would only need the support she offered would for the short term. However, she could not ignore God’s gentle prompting, and now, 18 years later, we have both benefited from this regular communication initiated so long ago.
With many people in the world now having experienced some sort of “lockdown” due to COVID-19, more of us have gone through a period of not being able to get out and about to pursue the activities we were used to. Many wonderful initiatives of connecting with others were born from the pandemic, and it is wonderful to see a number of those initiatives continue.
However, even though many of the pandemic restrictions have now been lifted, not everyone is freed from isolation, loneliness, pain, or illness. Thousands of elderly people live in care facilities and would love to receive a letter, visit, or telephone call. Some people with disabilities, as well as their carers, are not always able to get out and about easily and would gladly receive some companionship. Others are isolated by the loss of a loved one, mental illness, or social stigma.
As followers of Jesus, should our first concerns be about whether we know someone, how long they might need support or companionship, or what we might say? Or should we be more concerned about Jesus’ command to “Take care of my sheep” (John 21:16) no matter the obstacles? As indicated in today’s devotion, if we do as Jesus asks, we may be the “lifeline” for one of his sheep. I know I will be forever grateful to the woman who was, and still is, a “lifeline” for me. I encourage you to be a lifeline for someone too.
The RESILIENCE conference in 2021 was so uplifting and nourishing. It was wonderful to be with other Christians around the world at this retreat, who truly care about responding to trauma in a compassionate way by teaching spiritual practices to help with grounding and healing.”
Join us for the next RESILIENCE conference on September 29-30, 2023. Learn more at UpperRoom.org/resilience.