A few years ago, my dad and stepmom moved to the countryside of rural South Carolina to live in her childhood home. They went to care for her aging father, who has since passed away. Our family loves to visit and drive their golf cart and ATV beneath the trees and over the fields of the property. They live on several acres, home to an assortment of animals ranging from cats and dogs to horses, goats, and donkeys. While most of us choose our pets, they were once favored by a fascinating creature who, eventually, chose them.
My dad is something of an animal whisperer, but no one could get close to the wary, street-smart black cat who visited their property looking for food. His battle-scarred body bore evidence of a hard life and the effort it took to survive without an owner. He ate what was left out for him but wanted nothing to do with those who placed it there.
His trust issues probably stemmed from a life in which he’d received little kindness, much less affection.
You can only imagine my dad and stepmom’s surprise the day they looked outside and saw our youngest daughter sitting on their back steps holding that big black cat and scratching him behind the ears. How did she charm this animal who didn’t want anything to do with anybody?
She meowed at him.
That one word — one sound — crumbled the protective fortress around his feline heart. She bridged the gap when she spoke his language. From that day forward, Lamont, as my dad named him, was a lover not a fighter. He no longer feared people but learned to trust them. I remember the weight of him curled against me while I sat on the porch, his purr a rhythmic motor rumbling deep inside him.
Like Lamont, we all yearn for affection and connection, but trust doesn’t come cheap. If we’ve been burned by past relationships, we learn to build walls or make excuses to shield ourselves from the rejection we fear.
Do you ever feel like a stranger, tolerated by the world you live in but never really fitting in? You are not alone. A friend’s daughter recently left home for the first time to begin college. She dove in and adapted to the college scene, but now she’s hit a snag and suddenly wonders where her people are. Do you wonder where your people are? Do you wonder if you belong? Do you sometimes feel there’s no one to talk to?
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine a perfect, holy Jesus sharing our experiences, but this is not one of them. I can’t imagine anyone feeling more alone, more isolated, or more like they didn’t belong among those around them than Jesus. He was a sinless man surrounded by sinners; they must have felt self-conscious around Him. His parents would have marveled at Him. His siblings surely resented their perfect brother. He never encountered a person to whom He could relate.
As Jesus approached the pain and humiliation of the cross in obedience, even those closest to Him didn’t understand what lay ahead. He endured the greatest loneliness anyone will ever know when He shouldered the burden of our sins as His Father turned His back and left Him to die alone. Isaiah 53, an Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messiah, foretells, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 KJV).
Because Jesus Christ experienced loneliness and grief, He can relate to ours. He is a high priest who understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15 CSB). The friendship and connection you seek can be found in Him. He is always accessible and never too busy for you. Your seat at His table is secure.
If you find yourself alone today, scared, scarred, and afraid to trust, call out His name. He speaks your language and offers the comfort your soul seeks.
The friendship and connection you seek can be found in Him. He is always accessible and never too busy for you. -@DawnMHSH: Click To Tweet