I started ministry as a single person. Sunday used to be the worst day of the week for me. I would start to dread it on Thursday. So, by Saturday night I was a basket case. Sunday was a family day in my mind. Sunday meant pot roast and mashed potatoes. It was reserved for getting together with people I loved. Sunday morning at church was awesome but it was followed by Sunday afternoon with the glaring reminder that I was alone.
On occasion, I was invited to share Sunday brunch with friends and their families. I was encouraged to spend time with other single people or join a singles small group. Although people were trying to be supportive, I felt like a fifth wheel or an extra that just didn't belong. An honored mentor challenged me to think differently about my situation. She taught me that I could look forward to Sunday afternoon by scheduling that precious time as my time to serve the community.
It was pretty amazing how much better I felt when I could serve others. There is no shortage of opportunities to serve our elderly population. So, I signed up to do worship services at local nursing homes on Sunday afternoon. I recruited friends to help rake leaves in the fall, shovel snow in the winter and plant flowers in the spring for elderly neighbors. I organized groups to clean up yards, mow weeds and cut the grass of abandoned lots around our community. Sunday afternoon became something that I looked forward to because I could connect with others and I felt like serving was the cure for my loneliness.
Fear of abandonment, separation anxiety or being alone is a fear we all share at different life stages. Our significance, worthiness and meaning can be tethered to this fear. Daniel's significance and worthiness are defined by a God who cared deeply about his situation. But there was far more at stake than dealing with Daniel's isolation. Others were watching as God's reputation as a caring compassionate God was on the line. The testimony of outsiders like King Darius gives great credibility to how concerned Daniel's God truly is about this situation. If we understand that God cares deeply about what happens in the lives of other people, we can believe God is also concerned about us and the lions we face.
"For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." Daniel 6:26-27 NIV