Importance of Connection
These days I realize how important it is to meet people physically. I appreciate the actual social connection, not a virtual connection, more than ever. Today we had a glitching problem with Zoom. In the news, we hear that everyone’s having problems with Zoom. Yet, in this situation, we worship God. I can see you all on the screen, yet I miss meeting you all physically. For ESM, in terms of activities, we haven’t changed much. We do all the Bible studies and worship services through Zoom, but it is not the same. Our conversation becomes choppy, and it is hard to get deeper in our reflection. It is all right to communicate information virtually but it is hard to be connected spiritually and enter into deeper understanding. I have realized that we human beings survive and thrive in relationship. To us, relationships are so important. No one is an island.
Living in Relationship with One Another
When God created the world, he repeated this phrase, “It is good.” Every time he created, he said, “It is good.” But once, he said, “It is not good.” It is not good for the man to be alone. That’s the first time he said, “it is not good,” and then he created Eve. Creating Eve does not mean that he created another human being. It means that by creating Eve, God created the relationship that wasn’t there when Adam was alone. So, God created the relationship – God wants us to live in relationship.
But unfortunately and sadly, when we look around, I see a lot of broken relationships. Rather than peace and harmony, we see a lot of division and hatred. And because of these broken relationships, people get hurt. They go through so many problems, and we see many tears. Sometimes we feel that there is really nobody that we can be connected with in a real sense. Sometimes people feel that, “nobody wants me, nobody seeks after me, nobody is glad to see me, I’m almost invisible.” We feel deep loneliness. We come to a sense that we are really alone in this huge, gigantic universe. We are alone.
Especially when we experience life’s problems and suffering, this loneliness gets intensified. We can see that very well on the cross. On the cross, Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus didn’t really mean that God abandoned him. Jesus expressed his ultimate aloneness. So when you go through something, you experience deep loneliness or aloneness.
When we read Job, we don’t see only his problems, but we can clearly see his loneliness that was caused by his problems. His children all died; his wife cursed and abandoned him. And his friends who came supposedly to help him threw him into deeper darkness. He was all alone. He didn’t even feel the presence of God. This is what he confessed, “If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.” Not only was he abandoned by his family, his people, and his friends, but he also felt the total absence of God. He felt that the whole world turned its back against him.
Jesus’ disciples must have felt the same when Jesus was crucified on the cross, when Jesus left them. They solely depended on Jesus, they followed Jesus and they were able to endure all kinds of suffering because Jesus was with them. But the problems got deeper, and their master was persecuted and ultimately, he was crucified and they were left all alone. They felt that the whole world was against them.
Knowing what would happen, Jesus gave them this teaching in today’s passage while he was with them. “My friends, my disciples, I will never leave you like an orphan. Even though I am not with you physically, I will ask God to give you the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.” He said he would give the peace that the world cannot give, the world cannot know. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not fear,” he said. While he was with them, he said all these things knowing of this deep loneliness, aloneness and fear.
The Spirit Brings Us Peace
We are alone but we are not alone. The Spirit is with us. How do we know that the Spirit is with us? We cannot know it by feeling it. We cannot know by physically seeing it. We can know it because the Spirit gives us peace. By having that peace, we know that the Spirit is with us. When we believe that the Holy Spirit is with us, we experience this peace. Worries and fear will disappear, and God’s peace will come to us and give us confidence.
When we are alone, we have to be careful not to fall into darkness. We have to be careful not to let fear take hold of our life. We have to be careful not to let anxiety paralyze us.
Have Faith in the Spirit
What we need, my friends, is faith – faith that the Spirit is with us. When we believe that the Spirit is with us, we can deal with our aloneness. We will have peace and the peace will give us the confidence. We can defeat our anxiety, fear, and worries that come to us like a flood.
Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever.” For ever. For ever, the Spirit is with us. Yesterday I visited one of our elders in KSM who is very sick, and I told him, “God is with you. and God will be with you, and God will take you to a good place.” Abiding in you for ever, the Spirit will give us the peace we need.
Let us believe in the Spirit who is with us. He will keep us safe and he will keep us strong. My friends, you’re alone at home, but you’re not alone. The Spirit is with you. God bless all of you.