Lonely and Late and Loved by God


jan 6th

This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late.

These are the muttering words of the tired disciples to Jesus. But aren’t they often our words, too? Isn’t it always lonely and late and dark in this fallen world in which we live?

Such is my standard response to whatever woe-is-us I hear from friends or co-workers or headlines despairing that this is (once again) The Absolute Worst of Humanity And We Are All Heading To Hell In A Hand Basket.

Hasn’t it always felt this way, I wonder, in every generation challenged by the evils of its time?

This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late.

Jesus knew it. The fear, the despair, the hands thrown up in the air. But He also knew that late and lonely was precisely the time to feed people. Right where they were (don’t send them away), right with what we have (don’t go seeking more).

You give them something to eat. Go and see.

Cynicism is a sweet temptation. What’s easier than griping about the state of the world? But to look around and ask what I’ve been given to share, what small loaves of bread I can scrounge up to feed another hungry belly, what fine fish I can offer to make a meal?

That’s the Gospel work of finding good news where there seems to be none.

Jesus was compassion incarnate. He saw those hungry, tired crowds—hungry for more than bread, tired from more than fatigue—and He blessed and broke what He had to give to them. He gave His very Self. And they all ate and were satisfied. And there were heaps left over to keep them going.

This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late.

True. The world is hard. Winter is dark. Wicked wind bites as we try to turn up our collar and hunker down against whatever despair threatens to steal our joy.

But God is here, too. That was the promise of Christmas, and it stands firm even as we start to pull down the tree and tinsel.

God is here—in the hungry crowds, in the lonely places, in the late hour.

How can we live this truth? How can we be bread for others today?

photo credit

Laura Kelly Fanucci is a mother, writer, and theological researcher. She and her husband are raising three little boys in the suburban wilds of Minnesota. You can find out more about her here.

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