Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lonely in families

This past summer I read a verse that puzzled me.

It said God places the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

The part about prisoners being led forth with singing is a picture I could understand. If it is a picture of captives being set free then that would cause a response of joyful singing.  That makes sense.

The part about the rebellious living in a sun-scorched land also made sense.  Growing up in the south, I understand about hot summers.  The hot sun beating down with no relief is miserable.  No one wants to be outside when the sun is beating down and I sure would not want to live out in the open when the hot sun is beating down on 100+ degree days.  This part paints a picture of where I'm choosing to live if I'm living in rebellion.

But God setting the lonely in families, what is that about?

These words can also read God sets the desolate in a homeland. 

He sets the desolate in a homeland.  He sets the lonely in families.  This is a good thing, right?  Is it a picture of God placing those who need the love we can offer in our path so we can be vessels of His love to them?  I believe after reading the surrounding verses that the lonely being set in a family is meant to be a picture of blessing, covering and protection.

When I look around I see something that appears to be happening in families.  It appears we as a culture are squandering away any real relationship.

We are making a very noticeable shift in our interactions with others.  We are throwing away valuable opportunities.

Several months ago we were on a family outing at Krispy Kreme donuts and a father was there with his two sons.  While the two sons sat at the table drinking there chocolate milks and eating there donuts, Dad sat on bench nearby with his face buried in his phone.  God sets the lonely in families?

Another night, Shane and I were out on a date.  As I looked around the restaurant, I saw many people interacting with their phone and not the people they were there to share a meal with.  More disconnect.  More lonely people?

God sets the lonely in families.  Is this a positive statement-the verse before it talks about God being a father to the fatherless, a defender of the widow, yes, he will take you when you are lonely and set you in a family.  That is supposed to be a good thing, right?

Why then when I look around does it appear lonely being sat in families are still just that-lonely?

Why is there this shift in our culture where we are so chained to technology that we cannot even put it down to share a meal together?  I don't know about you but when we were growing up my mother took the phone off the hook while we ate dinner together.  By doing that she taught us that the table was an important part of who we were as a family.  Even today, if I call in the evening I might get a busy signal.  She still takes it off the hook so that the meal she has prepared can be enjoyed with conversation. 

We didn't feel lonely growing up because my Mom established a culture of relationship in our home.  Every night we sat around a table and talked while we ate a great meal. 

I'm still processing the meaning of this verse but as I think through it one thing is very certain.  There are lonely people in families everywhere we look.  I hope you'll come back tommorow as I continue to share about why I believe we are experiencing disconnect in our homes/families/relationships.

Psalm 68


Anonymous said...

That is SO good and SO true! Thanks for sharing. Kelley Thornton

New Every Morning said...

This is SO true!!!
I have also mourned the sight of families in restaurants buried in their ipads/phones. Dinner conversation is sacred, because my parents made it that way. Come to think of it, my mom took the phone off the hook for dinner too.
I've been mulling over a post very similar to this one. We're on the same page, girlie!