The bell sounded and a chorus of chairs scraped the floor, students erupting through every door, pushing to join the sea of bodies that flooded the hallways of high school between periods. I’d rise slowly, calculating the time I could spend with a trip to my locker, the water fountain—anywhere to keep from appearing alone or too early to the next class. My father had taken a new job in this city, and I was a midyear transfer, thrust into a community of teens, all of them shuffling along in an established pattern.
But in those hallways, I discovered the satisfaction of companionship with the Lord. Every class change, I met with Him for five minutes and understood what it was to be personally connected with God. It was where I felt seen, safe, and free to come clean with my deepest needs.
This is where intimacy with God begins—from unapologetic need. There’s a reason why Christ drew the neediest of society to Himself, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14 ESV). And, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). When we’re most needy, we’re most ready to be close to Jesus, to take His yoke and find rest for our soul (Matthew 11:28-30).
When we’re most needy, we’re most ready to be close to Jesus, to take His yoke and find rest for our soul.
What we often forget is that this godly love and inward peace is meant to create not a comfortable people but followers who are able to identify with other hurting, broken, isolated souls. Our closeness to Christ should breed courage. The Spirit inside us will fuel a desire to take our intimacy outward. As Jesus told 72 followers, instructing them to go be His messengers, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Luke 10:2).
With fondness, I remember the people God sent to meet me in those hallways, the lunchroom, the locker room, even. They were people who recognized the lonely or were lonely themselves. Slowly, they made me feel less isolated. We soon made an island together amid the treacherous waters of school lunchtime. And with the Lord as my friend, I learned to see beyond myself to pull others ashore with me.