The Worst Is My Being Alone

“They speak, this huge gathering of people who crowd the pages of the Bible. They listen. They emerge, if we in turn listen to them, not as allegorical embodiments of Goodness and Badness but as flesh-and-blood men and women who no less ambiguously than the rest of us are good one day, bad the next day, and occasionally both at once.”

-Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark

At the core of our being there’s this deep longing to be known, and in that knowing to find acceptance and meaning and purpose. I heard the sin of humanity once described as a kind of forgetting. We’re all created with a dignity bestowed by God. Made in his image—male and female. But we’ve forgotten who we are, what we look like. We’ve gone blind.

We think that deep and enduring longing, that itch we can’t ignore, will somehow get scratched if we’re free to do the things we want, free to own the things we desire. We even have this idea that our longing to be known means that a lot of people think we’re worth knowing. Perhaps the greatest complement our culture gives a person is a request for an autograph.

But there are times in our lives when we’re confronted in an honest way with our own need, our own desperation. Where, even for just a moment, we get a glimmer of the way things really are and who we really are. And if we let that moment simmer, the Spirit of God often whispers our name.

The unexpected nature of that call comes with such a surprise that we’re prone to simply dismiss it. But if we’re called, if we really hear the voice, it becomes impossible to ignore. And every time we answer to the whisper of our names, we reveal the glory of the Kingdom—a kingdom that comes to unexpected people in unexpected ways. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice (Jh. 10:4).

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