Jesus invites you into his belonging and this is the greatest blessing of your life!
At times you may feel that you don’t really belong to a group of people who enjoy and appreciate you. Psychological studies show that without a secure sense of belonging we suffer from a loss of meaning, depression, and poor health.
To feel you don’t belong is a deep hurt because it’s such a deep need.
To belong is to have a bond with two or more people who are also bonded to one another. It’s the community effect that makes belonging so stable and powerful for it’s participants. When you know that a group “has your back” in the challenges of your life and is a safe refuge for you it’s a HUGE booster on your well-being and confidence!
But belonging is hard to find, isn’t it?! We all know how difficult three-way relationships are. Inevitably, we get caught in distressing “triangles” where there are alliances, gossip, exclusions, and hidden conflicts.
For instance, if two of your friends have conflict it adversely affects your relationship with both of them. It’s hard for you not to get pulled into aligning with one against the other.
The great need we’re all born with is to be warmly cared for and enjoyed by two parents (or loved ones). Early wounds or deficits in our sense of belonging require empathy and “emotional re-parenting” or we’ll go through life insecure and prone to discouragement.
At his cross Jesus demonstrates real belonging even in the worst situation.
Jesus is in trouble and all of his friends run away. Religious and civil authorities unite to slander him and condemn him to death. Soldiers gang up on him to brutally abuse and flog him. He’s crucified along with two thieves, one on each side of him, and they’re both hurling insults at him.
It seems everyone is against him — even though he’s righteous. It looks like he is totally alone and without a friend in the universe.
Where is the belonging for Jesus? Who is loving him, caring for him, and helping him?
If you’ve been taking the Unforsaken journey with us in our podcasts and devotional emails then you know that actually Jesus is not alone. Simon of Cyrene helps him carry his cross. Compassionate women come to comfort him along the Via Dolorosa. As he is crucified Mary and John keep vigil close beside him.
These human emissaries are manifesting the love of God. Ministering angels did this for Jesus too. (As they do for us!) Recall Jesus’ deep travail in the garden when he went to the cross spiritually. Look at how artist Carl Heinrich Bloch’s portrayed this in 1880:
It’s here that the “little boy” in Jesus calls on God as his “Abba” or “Papa” (Mark 14:36).
Even in dire circumstances Jesus is unforsaken. He is experiencing a profound sense of belonging. The angel is ministering the tender and powerful presence of the Father and Spirit. There’s also a “cloud of witnesses” warmly enveloping Jesus. He’s being prayed for and cared for by the likes of Moses, Elijah, and many other saints and angels. (Hebrews 12:1; Matthew 17:1-5)
May the Lord God help us to see our lives with eyes of faith so we know that the whole community of heaven embraces Jesus — and us!
Because of Christ Jesus’ faith in God and his sacrifice for our sins we belong in heaven’s family forever.
Your One-Hour Immersion in Heavenly Belonging
Recently Kristi and I took a one hour prayer walk at a retreat center using our Unforsaken booklet to journey with Jesus and his cross. You and your friends would be blessed to do this before Easter. All it takes is one hour in a quiet room or garden and $5.
“Soul Talks” Podcast
In “Trusting God When You Feel Forsaken” we share that it’s in times of pain and distress that we’re most likely to feel alone. On the cross Jesus shows us how to trust God when we feel abandoned. It’s a 20-minute conversation that will help you follow Jesus for deeper life and greater influence.
How Are You Connecting With Christ?
Jane in Payson, Arizona writes, “Thank you for Unforsaken. The depths to which these meditations take me make Lent extra special and meaningful.”
Let us know what God is doing in your heart and life!