Going solo is tough. Pastor Connie has just had a second eye surgery, and her recuperation will take another couple of weeks, at least. We’re encouraging her to take it easy through the end of the year. Her first surgery was October 23, so I will have been on-the-job alone as pastor for most of two months. We’ve been ministering together for over thirty years, so this is an unfamiliar experience for me. It makes me more appreciative of the importance of her service to the people of ABC.

I talked this over with the Deacons last week. I reviewed the areas where Connie’s absence left the biggest gap; this was clearly in the matter of pastoral care and counseling, the visit in the hospital, the open office and the listening ear, the immediate “Let me pray for you,” the unexpected “How ya doin’?” phone call. I told the Deacons that was where I felt I needed their help and support, and they agreed that they’d make every effort to be sensitive to the emotional and spiritual needs of ABCers. If one of them reaches out to you, accept it as an expression of Jesus’ love.

Going solo is tough. I see it in the lives of members of the fellowship who have recently lost loved ones. No matter how prepared they seem to be and no matter how solid their faith is, it’s still a hard journey. They have to learn how to do everything in a new way, without that partner or loved one. Either Judy or I will have to go through this in the next few years, and I’m sure it will be lonely, even though we’re about to move into our new family-compound dwelling (Yeah!). Maybe someone comes to mind who would really be encouraged by a call or e-mail from you.

Going solo is really tough when it’s the whole story of your life. Some people never seem to be able to connect in a long-term caring relationship. Early family trauma, uprooting from familiar childhood surroundings, a series of personal hurts or simply a retiring personality may cause them to draw back from friendships that could become deep and lasting. Going solo emotionally may be the hardest life pattern of all.

If this is you, I encourage you not to give up. The next time someone tries to reach out to you, respond with a little more warmth than you feel. You may be surprised at what new possibilities open up to you if you take the risk of caring. Others may care for you far more than you realized.

The bottom line for anyone who’s going solo for whatever reason: YOU’RE NEVER ALONE! Here are some of God’s promises:

  • I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you .. . Do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:5, 9)
  • It is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you. (Isaiah 41:10)
  • Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)
  • Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
  • I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

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Ironic afterthought: I wrote all of the above without being sensitive to how hard going solo was for Connie during her recuperation. I was too busy thinking about my going solo. LOL

— Pastor George Van Alstine