Posted October 16, 2014
Reaching Out to the Lonely
The story is told about a New York City policeman investigating a case. He
made a phone call, but even before he finished dialing, he somehow knew he had
made a mistake. He let it ring, though. The phone rang once, twice - then
someone picked it up. "You've got the wrong number!" a husky male voice snapped
before the line went dead.
Mystified, the policeman dialed again. "I said you got the wrong number!"
came the voice. Once more the phone clicked down.
"How could he possibly know I had the wrong number?" the policeman asked
himself. A cop is trained to be curious - and concerned. So he dialed a third
time. "Hey, c'mon," the voice said. "Is this you again?" "Yeah, it's me. I was
wondering how you knew I had the wrong number before I even said anything."
"You figure it out!" The phone slammed down.
The policeman sat there for a while, thinking. Then he called the man
back. "Did you figure it out yet?" the man asked. "The only thing I can think
of is nobody ever calls you." "You got it!" The phone went dead for the fourth
Chuckling, the officer dialed the man back. "What do you want now?" asked
the man. "I thought I'd call - just to say hello." "Hello? Why?" "Well, if
nobody ever calls you, I thought maybe I should."
We live in a world of lonely people (many of them, ironically, surrounded
by other lonely people). And all of our technology hasn't made things any
better. Today, you can have hundreds of Facebook friends, but not have one
person who will be there when you need them or who will listen when you have
something to share.
Many in the world are like the Psalmist who said, "I am like a desert owl,
like an owl living among the ruins. I lie awake. I am like a lonely bird on a
housetop." (Psalm 102:6-7, NCV).
Sometimes, that loneliness expresses itself in a gruffness and an apparent
attempt to push people away. In reality, there's an aching desire to know that
someone truly cares, that someone loves them unconditionally, and that someone
is willing to listen. Jesus reached out to those who were "outcast",
experiencing loneliness. May we, as his people, keep our eyes open to those
around us every day who live in loneliness, and may we share the love of Christ
in a way they may have never seen before.