By Naomi Unnasch

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the Gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 
(Philippians 1:7)

It’s amazing how brokenness brings people together. 

On a bitter winter night last November, I gathered with hundreds of other Christians in a warmly-lit church. Broken hearts wept over a faithful woman who’d died tragically and with little warning. Broken sinners opened arms to one another in comfort. Here were my classmates, my teachers, my closest friends, and people I’d never met.

We flocked in confusion, but we left with hearts full. Questions lingered, and tears would fall in the days to come. But together we gathered and shared Christ. Rarely have I experienced such raw connection. 

Can you relate? 

Often we think of Satan as something cartoonish, comical – devil on the shoulder, whisperer of temptations, pitchfork in hand. He seems harmless enough. 

But reality is far more insidious. This predator preys on the weak among us – the divorcee, the childless, the addict, the widow, the perfectionist, the lonely, the workaholic – infecting our wounds with half-truths and lies. 

One by one, the predator picks us off from the flock and its Shepherd.

Thankfully, our faithful Shepherd does not abandon us to the predator. He lives in each of us, daily restoring a shattered Father-child relationship and adopting us into a family united by selfless love.   

And since our lives are now “hidden with Christ in God,” it is often through our brothers and sisters that our Shepherd embraces us and shows his face most clearly. We were not made for loneliness. Even the Creator himself realized this - it is not good for man to be alone – and responded by creating Adam’s radiant bride. 

We are not meant for loneliness. God knows it. Adam knew it. So do you. 

And so the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians, his book of joy, It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart. In his small congregation, Paul found love and peace and family. In his small community, Paul experienced a taste – if only a fleeting one – of home. 

What is the cross you bear? Is it loneliness? In faith, reach out. Is it weariness? Lean on a brother or sister. To live is Christ – so let us be Christ to one another in word, in action, and in truth. Seek his face in others’ fruits of faith. 

God has pitched his tent among us, and under this tent, we share in his grace.