may 20

The Longing for Others

By: Pastor Dennis Yim

Key Passage: Genesis 1:26a

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

For many of us, the most difficult part of this shelter-in-place is dealing with loneliness, isolation, the longing to be with love ones, friend, and with our church family. When everything was “normal,” we didn’t concern ourselves with our own safety in seeing each other, I think most of us – including myself – took this all for granted. But in this time of isolation it’s important for us to reflect deeply as to why we long for face-to-face relationships.

We’re created in God’s image, therefore, we’re created for relationships. In Genesis 1:26a, we see that God created man in His own image, but did you notice that God is speaking to Himself in the first person plural pronoun (us)? Interesting. Who is God talking to? Why does it seem like He’s talking to Himself? The Westminster Confession of Faith answers this clearly: “In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity.” What this means

is that God is in an eternal, harmonious and perfect relationship with Himself. So, when He created us, He created us to be in meaningful relationships. So, we have this natural longing to be in harmonious and loving relationships. Unfortunately, because of the Fall this longing has been distorted. Yes, we still long for relationships, but we long for distorted and perverted relationships. We long for relationships that benefit ourselves – we long to use others for our own carnal good, even if that means dealing with our loneliness. But the good news is that Jesus doesn’t leave us in our dark isolation, instead He addresses it by condescending down to us – He meets us where we are. He joins us in our isolation, He suffers in our longing to be with others. Jesus knows what it means to be isolated and to be completely alone, He knows what it’s like to long after relationships. On the cross, He was abandoned by all and as He suffered, He longed to be with His glorious Father. In our union and communion with Jesus Christ, our longing for human relationships doesn’t dissipate it actually intensifies. Why? Because when we are in a relationship with Christ we begin to have another kind of longing. We long for Christ to return again so that we can literally be with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth. Our longing for others is indicative to our longing for our eschatological Risen King Jesus Christ.

In your isolation and loneliness don’t beat yourself up when you find yourself longing to be with your friends, family and church community. Remember, all of that is completely natural, because to be human is to long physical, face-to-face relationships – meeting over Zoom or other virtual platforms is not good enough, but I suppose it will have to do for now. Finally, remember that even when we do gather again – to embrace each other and worship together – our longing for our great relationship with our Risen King will remain, because we long for our Risen King to finally return so that we may dwell with Him holistically - physically and spiritually.