“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9c
On 28 April, 1994, I attended the first ever National Conference for Street Workers held in Toronto, Canada. It was known as Street Level, and tremendous excitement and comradery was generated over the three days that we met. As I look back at the event, I’m reminded of two significant lessons:
The first lesson is from the conference slogan. The slogan was printed on the souvenir mug that everyone received. I have the mug sitting on a coaster alongside my computer. Clearly etched in black are the words, You Are Not Alone.
What a great reminder – I am not alone, God is with me. I’m encouraged by this reality every time I sip my coffee. And I hope and pray that as you read these words the Holy Spirit will give you a little nudge and remind you that You Are Not Alone.
The second lesson came as a surprise. Until the participants came to the conference they were largely unaware of how many others were working as street ministry specialists. In a physical sense these workers had felt isolated. They thought that God had called them to a ministry niche where they would have to soldier on without fellowship. Yet when they came to the conference they discovered that there were more than a thousand people in Canada who, like them, worked to share the love of Christ with people living on the street.
Maybe you’re experiencing something similar. You might not be a street worker, but you relate to the conference participants. You feel isolated. There’s no one who seems to know what you’re going through. You feel like you’re the only one holding the fort. And if you could have one wish, you’d ask for some meaningful fellowship.
It was like that for Elijah. In 1 Kings 19 it reports on how Elijah was struggling with feelings of aloneness. He was running away from Jezebel, in fear for his life, and was dejected and depressed. In his lament to God he says, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” 1 Kings 19:14.
But Elijah was wrong. He wasn’t the only one left. God revealed how He had seven thousand people in Israel whose knees hadn’t bowed down to Baal or kissed him with their mouths (cf. 1 Kings 19:18).
So be encouraged. You are not alone. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, God is with you. Furthermore, you are not “the only one left.” God has thousands like you who are true blue and pressing through.