I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13 (NLT)
Loneliness is an epidemic which is sweeping the world among young adults and teens. I know, it sounds weird, but let me explain. Though we live in the most connected society the world has ever seen, the quality of our friends has been declining since the birth of social media. In today’s world, a teen or young adult may have thousands of people they are “friends” with online. Yet, in real life, they really don’t have anyone who is a close friend – someone they can rely on and trust. Instead, hour upon hour are spent online tending to acquaintances, many of whom live on the other side of the earth. Instead of confiding in friends about the hurt teens feel inside, they instead post their feelings online, and then a horde of wannabe friends come and tell them they are loved. While this make work to ease pain in the short-term, it’s actually a trap. Eventually, after posting so many times about their issues, the likes, or the emojis, begin to become less and less. The words of encouragement dwindle in number. Now the teen drops deeper in their sorrow as their only “friends” don’t seem to be there anymore.
Unfortunately, this vision of online “friendship” can translate into our relationship with God. We don’t spend time building it, so it seems to fade away when troubles strike. But, if we’ve accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we know for certain that we will never go through anything alone. As the Apostle Paul put it, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, when we focus on our true friendship with God, we realize He is there with us. His Holy Spirit never leaves us. We’re never alone. He does this because He cares for us and wants to fill us “completely with joy and peace.” But, notice, it says that we find this joy and peace because we “trust in Him.”
Today, and every day, limit your online time and, instead, spend quality time with your True Friend, Jesus. Let His Spirit encourage you. Let His Spirit help you in your time of sorrow and pain. Let Him show you how to truly experience hope, peace, and joy.