A letter to the relationally broken

To my friends who are suffering relationally, to those of you who feel rejected, alone, lonely. To those of you who have few or no friends, who have tried and tried to make friends but can’t seem to get there, to those who are stood up and cancelled on, who are never asked out on a coffee date. To those whose phones are painfully silent with no texts or calls coming through. To those who have realized that they aren’t loved like you thought, who have friends come into town without telling you or whose friends get together and leave you out, who can’t seem to make heart connections no matter how hard you try.

To those who have been betrayed, abandoned, slandered. To those who have been lied about and shunned because of it. To those who have lost friends and don’t know why, whose friendships have blown up in angry accusations, whose friendships have faded into oblivion, to those whose birthdays are forgotten, and who pursue and pursue and pursue and still are lonely. To those who go to chemo alone because there is no one to be at your side. To those who find themselves in the middle of a disagreement only to lose both friends. To those who have no one to call to go see a movie or no one to sit with at church.

To those who see the wealth of relationships others have and are overwhelmed by depictions of beautiful friendships on social media. To those who look at other friendships and wonder, Why not me, Lord? To those who just want one measly invitation. To those who feel different and weird and unable to socially connect. To those who prayerfully confront sin only to be accused and rejected. To those who hope for redemptive relationships but can’t find anyone who seems to share that vision. To those who don’t seem to be a priority in anyone’s life.

To those who long for depth and grace and kindness in friendships but only find criticism, shallowness, and gossip. To those who look different and fear no one thinks they’re beautiful. To those whom others seem to avoid. To those who struggle verbally, thus struggle to engage in ordinary conversation. To those who don’t think quickly enough on their feet to be included in fun conversations and inside jokes. To those who give and give and give but can’t find anyone to give to them.

God sees you.

Not only that, but he knows your grief. He knows how your heart aches when you see friends laughing together, how your heart beats nervously in social settings where you don’t have friends, how you regularly fear rejection. He knows that your heart is raw and fragile and calloused and hard all at once. He knows your deep, secret longings to call someone my best friend even though you’re 40, and he doesn’t laugh. He is crying with you. When you fight back tears because someone’s eyes are darting around during conversation with you, looking for a way out, he hurts with you. When you wonder what in the world is wrong with you that no one wants to hang out, he hurts. When everyone is laughing and you don’t get the joke and you’re afraid you’re the punch line, God’s heart aches.

You see, God looks at you and thinks, Look at my amazing child! Look at how spectacular she is! Look at how perfectly I made her. Look at how special and unique she is, how quirky and fun and delightful! Look at how I knit her together in her mother’s womb, everything just so. Look how she is sweetly her own self, like no one else. Look at how she is different from everyone else and yet so similar, too.

God looks at you and cries out, Child, I love you! I love how you are wonderfully made. I love all your peculiarities, how you eat Oreos and how you sing a little bit off key. I love that you secretly like One Direction and dance in the kitchen when they are on the radio. I love that you love lemons except in your tea and that you are afraid of running into the mail carrier, yet when you do, you are always so smiley and friendly. I love that you buy Christmas presents all throughout the year and forget where you hid them.

Child, you are like your Father—your heart for relationship reflects mine. I love that you desire friends, that you are intentional about people. I love your compassion and your sensitivity. I love that you understand how important people are, because that is my heart, too. I love that you long to pull friends into a huge embrace and do life side by side, because that is what I intended for all my children. I love that you are hurt when you are rejected and don’t just blow it off, because it reveals a soft heart and a longing for Heaven.

Child, I made you like this on purpose. I made you to reflect a father running toward his prodigal child. I made you to receive my love and pour it out on others. I created you to help carry others’ burdens and lean into me, showing others what true love looks like. I made you to hold my hand and cry on my shoulder and receive my love. I love that you understand that the brokenness of relationships is not my original design. I love that your heart is so aligned with my heart for others that you are pained when you see discord and friction.

Someday, in Heaven—in my presence—your relationships will be perfect; you will relate to others sinlessly without baggage, bitterness, or ulterior motives. You will never doubt anyone’s love for you; your love will perfectly reflect my love for my children. You will never fight jealousy, anger, or mistrust. You will not fear to pursue or reach out to others. You will be noticed—fully known and fully accepted. You will have beautiful, redemptive, perfect community. Finally.

But guess what? All of that will pale in comparison to being in my presence—the presence of Love Itself. My love will fulfill every need and desire you could ever have imagined. My arms around you will make you forget every moment of loneliness you ever experienced. My touch will give you complete confidence in your identity as my child—my beloved child. Nothing will ever threaten your heart every again. You will be the you I created you to be; in my presence, you will be complete and completely loved.

And I look forward to the day when your sadness and brokenness will become untrue, when one look into my eyes will erase your pain, when the assurance of my hand on yours will minimize all earthly rejections until you forget them completely.

My child, I love you.