Sin has an incredible way of tricking you into feeling alone.  We can become a cast away stranded in a sea of doubt like Tom Hanks on a tiny island of self pity.  We tell ourselves what God should have done and what would have been much more loving to have done.  Then the wise council of me, myself and I enthusiastically agree to all of my suggestions and ambitions.  Yet, as a Christian, informed and shaped by the Bible, full of the Holy Spirit, we will recognize the lies we feed ourselves.

I found myself in a pit.  Within a twelve month period, I had unexpectedly lost my stepdad to an aggressive form of cancer, lost my mother into obscurity, and then lost my father to a massive heart attack.  At 33, I had become an orphan.  I realized abruptly there were to be no more quick phone calls to the my mentor in ministry, my stepdad; no more laughs with my father; no more words of encouragement from my mother.  How alone I felt for a fleeting moment in this realization.

But, what does God say about my condition?  Too often, we resort to other people for comfort before seeking His Words, his letter to me and you.  The Psalmist says in Psalm 27:10, "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up."  Answer number one, take heart that in loss, God is certainly aware of our pain, but He will never leave us.  His presence and love are as constant and faithful as the gravity that pulls a pad of paper to a tabletop before our very eyes.

We follow a Savior that very plainly gives me hope that I have a huge body of family to go to called the church.  Mark 3:33-35, "Who are my mother and my brothers?  And looking around him, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of God, he is brother and sister and mother.'"  Notice no mention of Father?  Christ was clear as to who His Father is.  And in the time of transition, I see now that if a patriarch is pulled away, God's glory is to fill those voids.  Mothers, brothers and sisters are to be my church family.  I need to grow and invest in these people deeply.

Why no mention of my wife?  I am blessed incredibly with a wonderful and supportive wife, but as clearly as scripture states, she is my wife and that is her only role.  Too often in our culture, a man will marry and expect his bride to be not just a spouse, but sinfully, a mother figure as well.  Ephesians 5:31, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."  So my wife grieved with me, loved me, and stayed at my side, but she should not fill a new role.

The time of burden has had purpose.  To see how God's faithful love has played such a critical role in my life is incredible.  He has never abandoned me.  To truly proclaim a love for my flock and to look at them with a clearer perspective as family.  We are a part of a vast kingdom and have a Heavenly Father whose glory is mission critical to our joy.  Friends, God's Glory is certain, and so we can count on Him to see us through and rescue us from the exile of sin we place ourselves in as His children.  The Father seeks His kids!  And that is good news!