This season has induced myriads of emotions for most of us. In the midst of stay-at-home orders, our fears abound. Will I catch the virus? Will I lose my job? Where will I get my daily bread? For many, the most pressing question is: Where will I find friendship today?
We’ve probably all experienced some degree of loneliness in the last month. Even those surrounded by the most loving family find themselves longing for corporate worship and fellowship. Those who are chronically lonely in “normal life” may find this season particularly difficult. For some of you, restrictions are beginning to lift. Some of you contemplate your bleak calendars, wondering if stay-at-home orders will be extended further into May.
While the context and degree of the loneliness vary, the experience is nearly universal. Alone time, family time, and virtual friendship are wonderful gifts, but something in us rightly yearns for more. Yes, we must learn to delight more fully in the friendship of the Lord during this time. After all, Jesus is a friend (John 15:15). He is also the bread of life. However, we’d never tell a starving person to be content because “Jesus is the bread of life.” Just as it is wrong to spiritualize and discount the desire for physical nourishment, so also it is wrong to spiritualize and discount the need for friendship. Jesus is our friend, but He created us to need earthly Christian fellowship too.
Between singleness and shift work, my early post-college years were some of the loneliest in my life. Yes, I had a church family and close friends, but there were times I still went days without seeing another Christian. During those years, I often felt like my soul needed friendship more than my body needed food. As I contemplated my loneliness, I found myself asking: How long, O Lord? The thought of another lonely week was painful, but not knowing when the loneliness would end only added to the affliction. In these moments, I found my soul running to a simple prayer: Lord, give me this day my daily friendship.
I enjoyed watching how God would answer this prayer. The Monday-morning text from a dear friend letting me know she was praying for my work week. Saying “hi” to someone in my church who was doing yard work when I passed their home during my evening run. The care package on my front step when I got home from work—a tangible reminder that someone thought about me that day. At night, as I laid my lonely head upon my pillow, I thanked the Lord for those moments, those pearls of friendship that helped to buoy me through another day.
As human beings, we naturally like full pantries. We want to enjoy daily bread while knowing where our monthly bread is going to come from. We also like full calendars and the guarantee of upcoming fellowship. Yet sometimes, God provides fellowship (like bread) only by the day.
During this season, pray for daily friendship. Thank the Lord as you see Him provide—even if the provisions are virtual or different from what you usually enjoy. Pray that you might be used to provide daily friendship to others, and look for creative ways to do so. A day is coming when we won’t worry about viruses or daily bread. On that glorious day, we won’t be lonely either. Until then, may God give us this day our daily friendship.