The apostle Paul had a special gift for telling people he missed them. Sure, everyone misses someone from time to time, but Paul was good at expressing it.
In his letter to the Roman believers, he speaks of the blessing it will be when he is reunited with them:
"I pray that I will be allowed to come to you, and this will happen if God wants it. I want very much to see you, to give you some spiritual gift to make you strong. I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you" (Romans 1:10b-12, NCV).In his letter to Timothy, he recalls the affection of his coworker and the joy his friendship is:
"Remembering that you cried for me, I want very much to see you so I can be filled with joy" (2 Timothy 1:4, NCV).
In his letter to the believers in Corinth, he states that he'll be visiting on his return trip so that he can spend more time with them. In the previous verse, he says he hopes to stay the whole winter, but he will act upon God's will:
"I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to stay a longer time with you if the Lord allows it" (1 Corinthians 16:7, NCV).In his letter to the believers in Philippi, he expresses the deepness of his love for them:
"God knows that I want to see you very much, because I love all of you with the love of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:8, NCV).
In this era of social distancing, many are feeling socially isolated. Not just physically separated, they feel lonely and devalued. I have struggled with these feelings even though I live with three other people. We may not be in prison, like Paul, but we may feel trapped in our homes all the same.
Our communities need us to be Pauls, to be willing to put our hearts on the line, and expose our deepest emotions. It's ok to miss people. It's ok to remember good times. It's ok to have hopes for the future. However, it is better that these feelings be expressed to build each other up.
I'm starting now. I pulled out some blank notecards and all the postage stamps I could find in my house. I am going to do what I can, what God allows me to do, to make sure people know they matter to me.
I hold on to the hope that God will allow me to see you soon.