Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Isolation

Sometimes I go to isolated places.  I will soon go to a place that is arguably one of the most isolated places on earth.  Getting there requires three legs of an international flight which takes at least 26 hours.  Upon landing and a brief overnight, the trip still calls for another hop in a two hour UN flight.  Then the real trip begins as we will drive another six hours to the village where our friends live.  At this point we are almost at our destination and a mere one to two day walk will get us all the way there!  Not hard to see why this basically un-evangelized people group is so isolated.

More profound is to consider not why these folks are so isolated, but instead to recognize the impact of that isolation.  For them isolation has meant vulnerability.  They have been attacked from all sides.  They are vulnerable at this point because an attack can be carried out and a slaughter occur before anyone even knows about it.  And so, in their vulnerability they have suffered.  Their isolation means that not only do others not know of their suffering, but also that great effort is required to come alongside them.  History suggests that an effort of this level is not readily found.  In fact, after numerous attacks their situation continues to deteriorate as the enemy recognizes that no real response to crisis ever seems to fully play out.  Along with isolation comes cold and stark poverty.  Many of the casualties of this isolation are not fortunate enough to experience a quick merciful death at the end of a rifle.  Instead, the end drags on through the misery of starvation and lack.  This timeline provides no relief without the distraction of entertainment and loved ones.

Sounds like Hell.  It is.  Isolation is Hell.

Sometimes, as I return to the states I am quite conscious that many I know and love also live in isolation.  While this isolation has risen for different reasons it has the same impact.  It is devastatingly destructive.  For many of us isolation is driven by a self protection mechanism that shuts down our ability to be vulnerable.  The crazy thing is that this self imposed isolationism causes us to become even more vulnerable.  The thing we were trying to avoid in the first place.

The Lord often speaks to me in songs.  Many times these are not Christian songs.  It is my contention that truth is His commodity not ours and with revelation we can find it in a lot of places.  While in a recent conversation at a local restaurant with a friend, discussing the nature of the battle at hand and what would be required of us in the fight to come, I begin hearing the song playing in the background.  I was sensing that this song was giving insight into the enemy’s tactic.  It was suggestive of how, and even what, we must fight.  One of the mane tactics I see the enemy use to wear down the saints these days is isolation.

I understand when it comes to the economy, and particularly money supply theory, that we are teetering on a cliff.  I also understand the explosive nature of the Middle East and the impact that region spiraling out of control could have on us.  In the end, the need is not for cash it is for commodities.  I am more convinced that the real battle is  around the issue of our isolation.

The song playing rang out...

    “And I don’t want the world to see me,
    cause I don’t think that they’d understand.
    When everything’s made to be broken
    I just want you to know who I am.”

There is a desire in all of us to want to be known for who we are without the fear of rejection.  Is it possible that we isolate out of that fear?  Is it possible that God sees our brokenness and in His kind and patient understanding gives an answer to that brokenness rather than reject us for it?  Will there ever come a day when the people of God gather and find this reflected in their midst providing a safe place?

For many it seems that a bar stool and a fine bourbon is a much safer place than a gathering of His people.  At the corner bar pretense breaks down to the extent that our broken condition finds no need to be hidden.  In fact, it’s even understood.  In the bar, along with deadening impact of the bourbon, a safe place can seemingly be found.  It can be said that the false (found in this scenario) is generally evidence that the real exists.  It also become clear why so many buy the lie.  It’s easier to live a lie when you don’t see evidence of what is real.

In the song the artist sings of his hope for a cure through relationship.  He says,

    “I’d give up forever to touch you cause I know that you feel me somehow.”

I am somehow aware that the Lord feels me.  That I exist in His consciousness.  I think I would be willing to give up forever just to touch Him.  To know, even experientially once and for all, that he doesn’t and won’t reject me in my obvious brokenness.  Sounds like a dream doesn’t it.  It’s not a dream.  I am convinced that it is precisely what He is continually telling us. 

Many today are disillusioned by God and the church.  This disillusionment has led to isolation.  In their isolation they have become vulnerable to the lies the enemy craftily weaves leaving them even more vulnerable.  Like it or not, the truth is we need each other, especially in this day and age.  This is why the scripture exhorts us not to forsake gathering together to encourage one another, especially as we see the day drawing near.  You don’t have to isolate.  It is a choice.  Take a risk.  A risk towards your Maker who knows you, your hurts, your sin, your brokenness, and your healing.  It may be fundamental in what your need to fight today’s battles and the coming war.

David