“Thank you for thinking of me.”

Recently, I forwarded an email to my sister.  The email contained information about an online art exhibition that I felt sure would be of interest to my sister.  Her reply surprised me:

“Thank you for thinking of me.”

Now, I haven’t seen my sister ‘in the flesh’ for over 20 years – she lives on one side of the world and I on the other; nevertheless, her response made me catch my breath.  My mind whirled with questions:

‘How could she NOT know I’m thinking about her?  I think about her every single day.’

‘How would she know I think about her, if I haven’t actually told her that I do?’

‘Does my sister, living on the other side of the world from her birth family, feel uncared for? Unloved even?’

Yes, we keep in touch via Facebook (for which I am extremely grateful) and email, but our geographical distance makes it hard to be ‘part of’ each other’s daily – sometimes humdrum – existence.

I think that the isolation that many are feeling through the restrictions brought about by Covid, have opened my understanding a little to what loneliness actually is.  There’s an old adage that says you can be lonelier in a crowd than when you are alone, and I have certainly experienced that kind of loneliness.  However, these days of ‘social distancing’ have brought a disconnect with others; a famine of human touch; a wasteland empty of hugs, handshakes, an arm around a shoulder or a comforting hand on an arm.  These, I think, are the harbingers of real loneliness.

For those with a sensory loss, this lack of physical touch can be even harder.  The blind person relies on the guiding arm of another or to feel a gentle hand on their arm to alert them to the presence of another.  Similarly with the deaf person, who also needs to be able to be close enough to see their friend’s lips.

“Thank you for thinking of me.”

Do you sometimes wonder if anyone is thinking about you?

If so, there is good news!  SomeOne is thinking about you every moment of every day, and during the night, too!  That One is Jesus.

Did you know that your name is written on the palms of his hands?   The Bible tells us that it is possible, even, for our families to ‘forget’ us, but it is absolutely impossible for God to do so.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; you are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Jesus’ hands are literally engraved with the scars which he bore on the cross.  When he received those scars “he took up our pain and bore our suffering” and that includes our sense of ‘not being noticed’, our fear of being a burden, or a failure, or of not having a part to play.  And he also brought us peace.  (Isaiah 53).  When Jesus was on that cross, he was thinking of you.

“Thank you for thinking of me.”

When did you last thank Jesus for thinking of you?  Take a moment, right now, to thank him again.

Last week I spoke via Zoom with my sister – we were online for nearly two hours!  I told her of my reaction to her “thank you for thinking of me” and she, in turn, was surprised!  In fact, she had been touched that, despite the geographical distance and the long time since we had actually been together, I had recognised something in her – her love of art – and had sent her the information about the exhibition.  She was surprised, and then moved, by the fact that I knew her.

This morning I was reading Psalm 139 which tells about our God who knows each one of us intimately;   the God who saw us as we were being formed in our mother’s wombs, who knows when we sit down and when we stand up, who knows what we are thinking or what we are about to say, in fact the Psalmist says that God is “familiar with all my ways.”  This is the God who is always with us, whose ‘hand will guide us and whose right hand will hold us fast.’

So, take some time to talk with God, (you don’t even need Zoom!!) Let him assure you that he is always thinking of you.  Revel in the fact that he knows what interests you and, in turn, he wants to hear you tell him about your joys and sorrows.

“Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4

“Thank you for thinking of me.”