God's word in today's world

Family ducking the curve balls

Philippians 4:21-23

Sometimes you feel alone. Sometimes you feel you won’t make it. Sometimes the black dog creeps closer to your front door and you wonder what life is about. No, I don’t want to exaggerate, but sometimes you simply don’t feel good and you start wondering about the meaning of life…

Maybe you’re not in that situation, but go ask your friends – there will definitely be one feeling lower than low. That’s part of life. Because the current life we’re caught up in is not perfect, curve balls come marching up all too often and sometimes we’re slow getting out of the way.

I’m grateful for my wife – when the balls come all too quickly, I can sit down with her and talk. Sometimes we don’t even say a word, but just knowing someone understands and listens to you, even though they may not have all the answers, is enough.

In Paul’s time things weren’t much better. On the contrary, they were much worse, because all Christian lives were under threat, threat of death. The net effect of threat is that it draws people together. Even though they all have little, they share and give what they have.

Very different from what most of us are used to and even what most of us do. Go sit down somewhere and think about your friends, your real friends. Think about the strong connections between you and the real motives for you being friends.

The end of Paul’s letter gives a glimpse of the strength of this friendship: 21Give our regards to every follower of Jesus you meet. 22Our friends here say hello. All the Christians here, especially the believers who work in the palace of Caesar, want to be remembered to you.

Remember, Paul was in jail. His fellow Christians most probably all knew about the letter he was writing to the Christians in Philippi. I can imagine the Christians walking past Paul’s cell asking him to tell them about his travels and where he had been. I can see Paul, with a far-off look in his eyes, telling them about all the loved ones he had met on his journeys and how they became like family.

And in a way connections developed between the Christians in prison and those far away in Philippi. Without ever having met in person, they greet. Such a strong connection between people who don’t know one another can only develop with the glue that is Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

There are so many lonely people in a world where you have to rely only on yourself, a world pushing us to achieve more and more success. Each and every one of us pop in here at one time or another – even the biggest extrovert sometimes wonder whether it is all worth it.

That is not the way God planned it. Actually, we’re part of one big family. A brother or a sister just around the corner. Maybe we should look for them more often. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that we can become closer together. So that we can reach out to one another, because tomorrow we’re alone again with curve balls in our hands and then it would be so good to have a friend, brother or sister smiling at us or simply touching us on the shoulder.

God gives us so many brothers and sisters and we have to serve one another. Maybe there’s one all alone around the next corner, looking for someone to talk to or someone to help carry a burden. You may just be the right one to do so.

And you may be the one around the next corner, standing alone, waiting for a family member to put his or her hand on your shoulder…


Who’s your family?

Do you sometimes feel alone?

Who can you reach out to?


Father, thank you for giving us to one another to love and serve. We’re not made to be on our own like an island. Please help us reach out to each other, to give strength to each other in hard times. Amen.

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