Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Real Issues Of The 2016 Australian Federal Election!

The Real Issues Of The 2016 Australian Federal Election!
Lewis believed democracy to be the best form of government, not because men are so good they should share in government but because fallen men are so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows.”
C. S. Lewis: Defender of the Faith: Defender of the Faith, Richard B. Cunningham 
CS_LewisC.S. Lewis also once famously said that democracy is not the best form of government – but it’s the best one we have! In Australia we have been enduring an election campaign that has gone on for nearly eight weeks, which is a little unusual for Australia. But spare a thought for our American cousins who have had what appears to be an election circus going on for months now and still has months to go! On Saturday July 2, Australian voters go to the Polls and whatever the outcome, it will have huge ramifications for our future and be a temperature-taking moment for where Australian sentiments currently lie.
Political candidatesI, like many others, attended the local ACL candidate forum where each of the main parties had a representative sharing and defending their views. I was upset and disturbed by most of what I heard. From the outset, I need to state that I am not a member of a political party (nor have I been). Thus, my comments are not beholden to any Party’s agenda. There’s three broad categories of concerns that deeply trouble me about this current election and the political climate. These are-
(i) What each of the Parties claim are the main issues for the Federal Government to address
(ii) How each of the Parties propose to address their idea of the main issues
(iii) What the main issues really are!
XXX at Parliament House on September 14, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. Malcolm Turnbull announced this morning he would be challenging Tony Abbott for the Liberal Party leadership.bill_shorten3
“Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.”
Winston Churchill, 1947

(i) What each of the Parties claim are the main issues for the Federal Government to address

Lib-Nat2016The Liberal-National Party present the economy as the main issue. By ‘economy’ the Liberals mean that Government spending should not exceed Government income, foreign debt should be paid off, and the taxation system should be fair but able to provide incentives for business and industry to grow and employ more people. Their slogan is, “Back our plan for a strong new economy.” The Liberals will hold a Plebiscite on Same-Sex Marriage before the end of the year. 
Labor2016The Labor Party present health and education as the main issue. They have majored on the preservation of Medicare as a key issue. Their 2016 slogan is, “We’ll put people first.” Many of their ads have highlighted the Liberal Government’s spending cuts to health and education and their intention to restore this funding. Labor has promised to introduce Same-Sex Marriage within the first one hundred days of their election to government.  
Greens2016The Greens Party present the climate and fairness as the main issues. Their slogan is Standing up for what matters. They want to promote renewable energy which will contribute to the reduction of Global Warming, and they want to end off-shore asylum-seeker detention. Their taxation policy includes increasing the company tax rate. The Greens are committed to introducing Same-Sex Marriage.   

(ii) How each of the Parties propose to address their idea of the main issues

Andrew Nikolic, Liberal MPThe Liberal-National Party claim that they will bring the Federal Budget back into surplus and eliminate the national debt. They claim this can be done without increasing taxation and by curtailing Government spending. The Liberals claim that Australia’s national debt costs fifteen billion dollars ($15,000,000,000) a year in interest. If this debt could be eliminated, it is claimed that it would allow for increased spending on such things as health and education. 
The Labor Party claim that they will bring the Federal Budget back into surplus and eliminate the national debt within ten years. They also claim that they can increase spending on health and education. 
The Greens Party claim that Federal Budget deficits serve the national interest because they ensure that essential services can be provided for. The Greens want to introduce a Carbon Tax and incentives to transition to renewable energy. They would also close all detention centres and increase refugee/asylum-seeker intakes.
*I apologise to all the other Political Parties for not including a summary of their positions.

  (iii) What the main issues really are!

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Proverbs 14:34
It seems to me that each of the Parties have identified at least some of the important issues facing Australia, but have, perhaps, failed to recognise the preeminent ones. 

The role of Government is to uphold justice, promote the welfare of its citizens, provide common defence, and maintain the blessings of liberty. But it seems that we have come to expect a lot more from our governments today. I am surprised by how the question, “What is the government going to do about this?” is applied today. For example: education. But I’m not nearly as surprised by politicians who make commitments to do things on behalf of a government that were never considered the role of government – such as: ‘middle-class’ or ‘corporate’ welfare, introducing ‘taking offence’ laws – and no-one seems to question this very idea! 

On two occasions throughout this 2016 Federal election campaign did two of the most pressing issues facing Australia get a mention. As important as the economy is, these issues are infinitely more important than how wealth is created and distributed. In fact, I would like to make the case that the issue of the welfare of the vulnerable is a profound economic factor on our nation – at least because it reveals the ‘moral temperature’ of our nation. When any nation’s moral compass is distorted by the magnetism of personal interest over national interest (which is a form of immorality known as ‘Moral Relativism’) it is economically doomed! Greece is a tragic recent example of this where its citizens voted for massive Government spending increases which gave them each a pension from the age of 55 which was annually many times their final year’s salary! 
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12

The two moments in this election campaign when both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were caught off guard occurred when the plight of the vulnerable was exposed to the media's glare. The first instance was early in the campaigning while the second happened last week. Bill Shorten was asked a question by a 19 year-old girl in Woy Woy (NSW) about his Party’s priority regarding suicide prevention in Australia. Initially he seemed to dismiss the question as a bit of a left-field issue. He then turned to his town-hall audience and asked them if any of them had been affected by suicide. In this YouTube clip you can see how caught off guard he was with their response.
Suicide rates in Australia have risen 20% between 2004 – 2014
(source: Former Mental Health Advisory Chief Adjunct Professor John Mendoza, 2016)

In response to this moment, Mr Shorten has committed his party to trialling 12 pilot programs around Australia to address mental health and suicide. This is commendable. But unfortunately it misses a very big point. At the heart of why Australians are despairing, and consequently taking their lives, is the cultural promotion by successive governments of moral-relativism (that we each determine what is right and wrong because there is no external/objective, point of reference). The removal of objectivism (that we draw our morals and values from an Absolute Standard) from the Australian psyche by nearly all sides of politics has been subtle and largely unchallenged. It has dire consequences though.
Suicide rate in Australia – 2009-2012
Not only has the term secular (which has always meant ‘non-religious’) come to be synonymous with moral-relativism it has been unquestionably redefined as ‘anti-religious’. And this is what moral-relativism does: It continually redefines everything. By its very nature it has no choice but to do so – because it is not grounded in anything fixed, such as God. Rather, it is subject to personal whims. It is almost the perfect Trojan Idea-Horse of our day. Rather than aggressively invading culture with its non-sense it has instead dressed itself as a beautiful, creative, appealing, artful centre-piece of culture – just as the ancient Macedonians were able to do to the unsuspecting citizens of Troy. And like the unsuspecting Trojans, one thing inevitably leads to another and then ultimately to their greatest detriment. This is what moral-relativism will do, and can only do, to any culture!
When everything about our culture tells its citizens that there is no fixed reference point for right or wrong, true or false, good or bad, purpose or meaninglessness, is it any wonder that its most vulnerable citizens think there is no point to living?  
 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
John 10:10
The second moment in this campaign happened when Prime Minister Turnbull was asked by a Queensland female medical student, Ashley, about the plight of the dozens of abortion survivors who are left to die after they are born. These unwanted babies, who are aborted ‘late-term’ (after 5 months in the womb) who somehow survived these attempts to abort them are left to die as they impulsively cry for nurture.
Video Player

Political candidatesYou don’t have to be religious to be deeply concerned about the plight of our most vulnerable citizens – those who are suicidal and those who are utterly defenceless against those who seek to take their lives. At the recent electorate candidate forum I was greatly grieved to hear the Liberal candidate say that the latter should be “safe, legal and rare”. I was upset when the Labor candidate said that it was a woman’s right. I was disappointed that the Greens candidate said it was a woman’s body and she had a right to do to it whatever she wanted. I restrained myself from asking them about the analogy of an owner of an apartment building who owned the building and its land freehold (without a mortgage), and wanted to demolish it with explosives, even though it was known that there was someone in their building at the time. Even though they owned the building, do they still have the right to demolish it even there was someone alive inside it at the time? We need to remember that a pregnant mother hosts another being who possesses distinct DNA, a distinct blood type, measurable brain-waves from ten weeks after conception, and independent movement, from its mother!
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit,
Luke 1:41

Has Australia Succumbed To The Trojan Horse Of Moral-Relativism?

Moral-relativism distorts the way a culture can think clearly about issues. This is why the issue of Same-Sex Marriage is so telling.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools
Romans 1:20-22
I am flabbergasted at the ‘logic’ used to promote this radical moral-relativism. Because I understand the nature of Trojan Idea-Horses, I am far less flabbergasted than most at the response of those inside, or aligned to, the Trojan Idea-Horse when they exhibit scandalised mockery toward to those who dare stand up to it. Their ironic moral disgust toward anyone who dares believes differently to their opinion – that everyone’s opinion is equally correct – would ordinarily be labelled as illogical if it wasn’t for the fact that moral-relativism celebrates the illogical. They have cleverly brought in their moral-relativism in the form of an Idealogical Trojan Horse which has been draped with completely disconnected words such as loveequalityjustice
Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were older than he. And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger. 
¶ And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said:
“I am young in years,
and you are aged;
therefore I was timid and afraid
to declare my opinion to you.
Job 32:4-6
Labor-rainbowLike Elihu in the Book of Job, I simply expected my senior colleagues within the Church, who have impressive titles of national honour, to have pointed out the obvious and glaring flaws in such Trojan propositions before these illogical ideas could gain entrance into the centre of the Town Square. But no. I expected that someone, somewhere, with a national voice, would have pointed out that marriage is not, was not, never was, about bestowing social standing to a couple. But no-one has. I expected that someone, somewhere, with a national voice would have pointed out that love is not the reason or the prerequisite for a couple to marry (“love” does not occur anywhere in the Marriage Act). This would of course mute the appeal that if two people love each other, they should have the right to marry. Putting aside the false notion that marriage is a right, and addressing the equally absurd notion that “love” is the only criteria for marriage, why hasn’t anyone asked whether “love” will be the new and sole prerequisite for marriage with the proposed introduction of same-sex marriage? I’d be very curious how I as a Marriage Celebrant will be required to test/prove/demonstrate this criteria is met in order for a marriage to proceed. Presently, the prerequisites for marriage are clear, as any Marriage Celebrant is required to check, and include –
  • Complementary Gender (everyone in Australia is treated equally by insisting that since marriage is the union of one man with one woman voluntarily entered into for life for the purpose of having or raising children where possible, it is necessary that this unique relationship necessarily be between a man and a woman)
  • Appropriate Relationship (a marriage cannot be between a parent and child, or between siblings)
  • Attained Age (the individuals forming the marriage union must be at least 18 years old. It would be inappropriate for 6 year olds to marry.)
  • Identifiable Person (one of the final Statutory Declarations a couple signs before proceeding with their marriage has as its opening declaration, “I am a person”. A person can not marry their pet, their favourite tree, their football club, or their car.)
  • Eligible Status (a person must be eligible to marry, that is, legally single and not already married)
(This mandatory criteria form the acronym, “G.R.A.P.E.”)
Added to these facts, which justly apply to every Australian equally, I expected that someone would point out that not only do these 5 criteria apply to every Australian equally, but that they can only to individuals – and never to couples. That is, marriage is not the recognition of a couple – it does not bestow status to a couple – it changes the status of an individual. If this was just pointed out, so many of the arguments for same-sex marriage – about giving same-gender couples equal recognition – would never go unchallenged, because more people would be able to immediately point out that that is not what marriage does now, and neither can it. Thus, when I hear a political candidate claim that marriage is all about “love” (when in fact it is about the commitment between a man and woman that best environs the having and/or raising of children where possible), or that it is about giving equal status to same-gendered couples (when marriage is not about the status of any couple!), and that same-sex marriage legislation is necessary to address the abnormally high mental-health issues and suicide-rates among the LGBT communities (when in fact, wherever same-sex marriage legislation has been introduced, there has been no such expected improvement and in many cases it has actually got worse). And again, sadly, no national Church leader seems to have pointed these facts out to these unqualified politicians.
The Christian’s defence of the uniqueness of marriage is not narrow-minded bigotry, or hatred toward same-sex attracted people. The ache that same-sex attracted people feel cannot be soothed by same-sex marriage (as the evidence clearly shows). Thus, the idea of Same-Sex Marriage is really a Same-Sex Mirage! The Christian agrees with Jesus Christ who defined marriage very clearly – 
He (Jesus) answered, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
Matthew 19:4-5 
If the role of government is to uphold the welfare of its citizens, it cannot in good conscience support that which harms them, which these two pressing issues clearly do. Yes, we want our government to be economically responsible and minimise wasteful spending, to tax fairly, and distribute resources to those less fortunate. But we also need the government to acknowledge that it plays a significant role in shaping our culture and its values, which in turn have a direct bearing on the welfare of people. Arguably, national interest is best served when a government supports and promotes the family unit – rather than undermining it. It would then be going a long to addressing our most critical economic and social issues including: family breakdown, divorce, domestic violence, pedophilia, teen pregnancies, homelessness, illicit drug abuse, suicide, mental-health, education, and health. This election, please consider whether the candidate you are voting for is prepared to acknowledge and address these most serious welfare issues.    
Ps. Andrew Corbett

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Throng's Song

Last night I lay on Ruby’s bed with her in those precious moments when the day’s activities were done, the phone was no longer ringing, no-one was waiting to see me, and Ruby would soon be asleep. When my nearly-ten-year-old was much younger, Kim or I would read her a Bible story from an illustrated Children’s Bible storybook. As she learned to read, we upgraded her to a Children’s Bible (which has fewer pictures and more words than her Bible Storybook). She has faithfully read from this particular Bible nearly every night for the past few years. She started at Genesis 1:1. She witnessed creation. She has plowed her way through the Levitical ceremonies, sacrifices, and ordinances. She has marched with Israel into their Promised Land and joined them as they did their seven-day march around the impenetrable walls of Jericho (Jericho means, City of Palm Trees). She waved her palm branch along with the Hebrews as they symbolically waved theirs to the bewildered inhabitants of the never-before-conquered city. She was in the assembly as Solomon dedicated the Temple which had palm branches embossed on its doors (1Kings 6:32) when supernatural fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering on the altar and filled the Temple with the glory-cloud of God (2Chron. 7:1). 
¶ As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
Second Chronicles 7:1
She was among the throng who welcomed the colt-mounted Hosanna-worthy Saviour as He entered Jerusalem along a carpet of palm branches. And last night, we both stood among the Bible’s biggest throng as they laughed together, sang, rejoiced and exhuberated in worship of the Lamb, all the while holding palm branches in their hands.
¶ After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Revelation 7:9-10
Andrew and RubyBecause Ruby is now nearly all the way through the Bible, I thought I would join her in her nightly devotions as she stood among this greatest throng. Together we read Revelation 7. After all the drama and pathos of the Bible’s unfolding story, this chapter of Revelation paints a picture of the triumphant and glorious ascendency of the Christ. It is one of the grandest and most inspiring pictures of God and His people in all the Scriptures. It gives us a glimpse of the Penultimate Grand Finale. Vast numbers of precious people of all skin colours, ethnicities, languages, and geographies – so vast that they cannot be numbered – are gathered in adoration of the Lamb of God. All of them are standing before God giving Him their full attention, while He himself looks into the eyes of each one of them! This is the Church’s destiny. In the meantime, each Sunday when we gather, we remind ourselves of this, our, glorious destiny, as we do for a very short time what we will do for eternity: worship God and The Lamb who was, is, and is to come.
¶ “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:15-17
Daddy reading the Bible with RubyWhat Ruby has been doing in her devotional reading of the Bible is in essence what this great throng of Revelation 7 is doing: worshiping. This throng around the Throne of God are seen in thunderous, harmonious, melodious worship. When a local church gathers each week to worship, they are declaring to one another and witnessing to the world, that the day is coming when every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is Lord! Like the Lord’s Supper, congregational worship is a shadow of some greater reality which it anticipates. Attending Sunday worship is similarly an individual act of worship which declares the worshiper’s desire to one day be a part of that great Revelation 7 throng. This is why Hebrews 10:25 tells the believer not to forsake the weekly assembly of fellow believers as they gather to worship.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25
This throng’s song declares that salvation comes from the God who sits on The Throne and from the Lamb who was slain but has now conquered death and established beyond all doubt that He is Lord and worthy of worship – both for eternity and every Sunday in the midst of the vastly smaller local congregations gathered around the world that by doing so looks forward to this joining this Throng in their song on that last day. This Sunday, let’s join in the throng’s song now. This was the lesson that Ruby and I took from our reading of Revelation 7. 

Friday, 10 June 2016


We are all religiousWe are all religious. Some people are religious about their belief in, and worship of, God. Others are equally religious about their non-God beliefs such as the environment, politics, atheism, or their sporting team. This is why we all have religious opinions. But unlike other personal preferences, our religious ideas can not only be wrong, but also the difference between life and death – both now and beyond the grave – for eternity!

But Which Religion Is The Right One?

013ReligionDespite the claims of some people that all religions are basically the same, a closer examination of each religion’s claims reveal just how different they are! The central teaching of each religion is the identity, nature, and character of God. Hinduism teaches that God is an impersonal force that can be worshiped as a multiplicity of idols. Islam teaches that God is a solitary being who is not bound to moral restrictions (“Allah is arbitrary”), which means that God can cheat, lie, and murder without moral impunity. Judaism teaches that God is the uncreated, eternal, and holy (the source of moral purity) Creator. Christianity teaches that God is the eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the Son becoming a human being – God in the flesh. Islam teaches that this particular teaching of Christianity is the sin of shirk (Arabic: شرك‎‎ širk) – the unforgivable sin. As you can see from this brief survey of the world’s major religions, the most fundamental claim of any religion is the identity, nature, attributes and character of God – yet each of these religions contradict each other’s teachings about God! 
Like any truth claim, the claims of any religion can be tested. 
  1. Does it comport with reality?
  2. Is it consistent?
  3. Is it ‘falsifiable’? (That is, if the claim is false, is it possible to show that it is false?)
  4. Can its experiential claims be put to the test?
The case for the teachings of Christ (‘Christianity’) being the exclusively true religion can be shown to pass each of these truth-tests, and as I explain what is involved in becoming a Christian, it is the last of these four truth-tests that I will invite you to try. 

Becoming a Christian…

comfort-the-sorrowfulA Christian is someone who follows the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth as revealed in the Bible. Becoming a Christian involves a spiritual conversion – not just intellectual agreement. The Bible calls this “regeneration” (Titus 3:5) which Jesus described as being “born again” (John 3:3). This spiritual transformation is transacted by prayer to God asking Him to forgive us of our sin and save us from its eternal penalty because of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ that first Easter.
jesus-speaks-with-a-man-born-blindThus, when a person cries to God for help, there has come an awareness that there is something wrong – not just with the world, but with our own hearts. 
There comes a growing realisation that no matter how hard we try to ‘fix’ ourselves, we are unable to change our sinful, selfish, self-justifying behaviour. We eventually see that we need a Saviour
lonely-teenChristianity is the only religious view that has a “Saviour” – a Rescuer. We need to be rescued from the plight and peril of our sin. Sin is what separates mankind from God. It is an act of pride that says to God that we know best and He doesn’t. Sin is thus highly self-deceptive. It deceives into thinking we are better than we actually are. It maliciously tricks us into thinking that God is less than He actually is. It wounds our heart and calls it ‘pleasure’. It stains our souls and calls it ‘happiness’. It poisons our minds and calls it ‘progressive’. We need healing from sin. We need cleansing from sin. We need an antidote to sin – and only God can provide this healing, cleansing, antidote.
seventeen-year-old-troubled-boyIn His mercy, He plants a cry in our hearts to God for this healing-cleansing-antidote called: salvation. God then causes us to ‘see’ that if we cling to our sin and identify with it, that our sin deserves eternal justice for what it has done to humanity. But He also reveals that the God of Justice is also the God of Grace – who not only must punishsin but who has also sent His own Son as our substitute to take our penalty for identifying with sin. When a person realises this, God enables them to repent – to turn away from their identifying with sin, and turn to Him.  Repentance is a gift from God (2Tim. 2:25) which brings about a change in a person’s heart, mind and actions. The repentant person is now enabled to trust the One who acted as their substitute and bore the penalty for their sin: Jesus Christ.
The Bible promises that all those who simply call upon (the Name of) the Lord shall be saved from the penalty and doom of their sin (Romans 10:9-13).
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:9-13

You don’t have to clean up your act first. You don’t have to become religious. You don’t have to improve yourself – before you call out to God for this salvation.

God-grace-v-mercyThis is entirely a spiritual experience which has implications for our everyday lives. After becoming a Christian we think differently, act differently and feel differently towards others. This result is called “conversion”. Any unconverted person cannot reasonably be expected to claim that they are a Christian!
Perhaps you recognise your need for Christ? I invite you to put this experiential truth claim of Christianity to the test. Even though you may feel like you’re a million miles from God, you’re not – you’re just one step – and this first step is taken in prayer…

“Father God, I thank You that You have shown me my true condition before You and what sin has done to my heart, mind and soul. I thank You that have taken the penalty of my sin and graciously placed it on Jesus who was my willing Substitute. I thank You that Jesus has died in my place to heal and cleanse me from, and provide the antidote to, my sin. I ask you to forgive me, heal me, cleanse me, and set me free from my sins. Help me now to live for you and fill me with Your Spirit, Amen.”

Will you give your life to Christ and start your journey as a Christian? If Jesus Christ of Nazareth was correct, the grave is not the end, and from the moment we leave this life we either spend eternity enjoying eternal life with God in Heaven or separated from Him and His goodness enduring the penalty of our rebellion for eternity.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 10:28
Andrew Corbett

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Lonely Friends

Loneliness does not discriminate. It blights the popular and the outcast alike. It makes some great. But it also has made the great break. In this life, you will be lonely. Lennon and McCartney wrote a best-selling pop song in 1966 that had the haunting chorus – 
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
Nearly all the depictions of lonely by artists has someone on their own. But for anyone who carries the cross of the loneliness, we know that’s not always true. Loneliness has little to do with how many people we are near. 

Dr. FW. Boreham, 1921If greatness is measured by the sheer numbers of people a person helps and bears responsibility for, the greater a person becomes, the more lonely they will necessarily be. I think God has designed this. Great leaders are almost without exception: lonely. In doing my research on one of humanity’s greatest souls, Dr. F.W. Boreham, I came to one poignant auto-biographical comment that he made about his life. “I have always been a lonely man” he wrote. This is despite enjoying a long lasting marriage of over 62 years, five children, lovingly pastoring three churches over his career, and developing friendships with hundreds of fellow ministers around the world. Yet, he would say that he had always been a lonely man. His loneliness drove him to serve others and apply his God-given gifts to their service. It seems that this is true of all great souls. Their loneliness could have broken them to despair. But somehow, in the mercy of God, they find that what they lack from people they learn to receive from being in friendship with God. It may surprise an emerging leader that despite having more contact with others, despite having more people being more transparent with them, despite having a few peers show them careful attention, they are increasingly lonely. Jesus certainly was.
Toward the end of Christ’s atoning mission, He celebrated His last Passover with His disciples in that upper room. Despite being in a room with twelve other men, He was virtually alone. Despite His actual presence filling the whole earth, He was largely unnoticed that night. While the disciples waged a vigorous verbal joust over who was the greatest, the loneliest person in that room took his tunic off, as any slave would seeking to avoid the stains of feet grime, and began to wash the soiled feet of wrangling apostles. By the time He had washed the feet of 11 of them, He had not been noticed. This is a hallmark of loneliness – going unnoticed.
Katy PerryLonely people aren’t seen. We can look at them, and still not see them. I wonder if God wantsleaders to experience a measure of loneliness so that they can see others? This is why I think God has designed loneliness as a necessary part of His children’s growth. It causes them to grow in love for others. It’s hard to miss how many times the Gospels describe Jesus seeingthe crowds and having compassion for them. How many people look at celebrities who enjoy the applause, popularity, accolades of adoring fans, yet fail to see them as desperately empty and lonely? By her own frank admission, Katy Perry is one such celebrity. In a recent behind the scenes movie about her life, we saw what few ever saw: a worn-out, desperately lonely girl, craving to be understood and loved. The problem is that I think there are thousands of Katy Perrys in this world!

I posted on Facebook this week a small reflection of Psalm 25 where King David begins a series of Psalms about his own loneliness.
Facebook post about Psalm 25 Turn to me and be gracious to me, 
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Psalm 25:16 
Psalm 25 reveals how David felt and then how this deepened his relationship with God. The next few Psalms pick up on this as well as David describes how he felt neglected by others, including his parents, yet how this caused him to seek God and find friendship – the antidote to loneliness – with God. 
Who is the man who fears the LORD?Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being,and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the LORD,for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalm 25:12-15
Begin to redeem your loneliness today. Look to God. Begin to see others. Avail yourself to God and He will make you great as you begin to serve others. Then an eternal day will come when you will never experience loneliness again and will find your soul enjoying its greatest delights in a friendship you were created for.
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15
Perhaps the local church is God’s means of alleviating loneliness? It is here that the lonely can find a family of brothers and sisters and even mothers and fathers. But sometimes those who should be this to the lonely are too distracted by their own loneliness to see the horribly lonely. I know at times I have been. Perhaps we can each deepen our friendship with God so that we can introduce these lonely souls to their True Friend.
God places the lonely in families; 
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. 
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. 
Psalm 68:6