In the world today, many of us live within parts of the world that are experiencing the effects of an increasingly interconnected and globalized world. It is a world which has created opportunities for fast travel between distant places, and virtually instant connections with other people worldwide via the internet.
Within such a world, it is easy for one’s contacts to accumulate rapidly (on social networks), which opens doors into many different cultures and traditions. In association with our new world, the migration of individuals and families has become commonplace, and often people choose to move to foreign countries to pursue studies, jobs, and even sometimes relationships and marriage.
Take, for example, many of today’s college students, especially in the western world, who will likely join a university that hosts thousands of students from all over the world. Immediate connections are created. I was one of those students who, in search of better opportunities and degrees, decided to leave behind my family, Christian friends, and country (with my native tongue).
It was an eye-opening experience that has changed me in many ways. As an Adventist student joining a secular university, I knew it would be a struggle to integrate in most circles on campus. However, the new church family in my new town warmly welcomed me into their congregation, and some new friendships were created.
Yet, in spite of that, I still felt lonely quite regularly. Looking around I discovered I was not the only deserted “island” around. I figured that perhaps it was the cultural clash that discouraged deeper understanding of each other’s thoughts. Furthermore, distance and busy schedules silenced the connections I once had with my old friends, and, sadly, with some of my family.
I discovered that having adopted new ideas, perspectives, and approaches to some things began to sever those heart-to-heart conversations over the phone with old and dear friends. There were multitudes surrounding me, but no confidants. The natural response was to carry the burdens by myself.
You may be wondering: What does all this have to do with the Sabbath?
The blessing of the weekly Sabbath refreshes me and my mind in many ways, but recently it has rekindled within me the knowledge that we have a Creator who wants to be our eternal confidant and friend. The Lord invites many of us upon a tumultuous journey here on earth before we reach heaven and enjoy direct communion with Him.
As with any other journey between two people, sometimes it is filled with meaningful conversations and lessons where we both learn about each other (see Genesis 22:12). No doubt, I have more to learn than He does.
Nonetheless, we are told that if we are heavily burdened, we must come to the Lord and He will give us rest. In other words, I come to him to unload my cares and sins, in order to upload comforting promises and unshackling truths through his word.
The best part is that although we can do this 24/7, knowing that Christ’s attention for us will always be undivided, we can also know that God specifically designed an entire day for us to be together, where He wants us to know that He desires our company more than we could ever desire His.
Does this mean that we should stop searching for human friends and confidant(s)? Surely not. We are, by faith, one body working together that is asked to share together. I believe prayer and patience will solve that mystery. I have learned that sometimes it also takes courage when we experience a period in our lives devoid of close human friends. Meanwhile, though, I know we can continue to remember Him who never fails us.
I may have used my own experience, which describes one person’s story, which, no doubt, many may resonate with, but often there are some of us who, in our families, home churches, and countries, are also lonely. To you, I say it is worth giving God a chance, as He is the only one who can listen carefully to you, from wherever you may be, regardless of the time of the day, because His priority is you.
The Sabbath is God’s sign to us that He also wants to spend time with us, and time is the one thing that can connect God with us, no matter where we are, or what other human friends we may have near.