There’s a reason you feel alone sometimes. There’s a reason you have a tendency to run and hide when you’re struggling. There’s a reason you place yourself on the sidelines and watch from a distance. There’s a reason why you check out.

Here’s the reason … the enemy is at work!

1 Peter 5:8, “The devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

You’ve seen the nature shows following a herd of animals. They’re wandering about, eating a little grass, laying in the shade, watching the babies play, all while they have no idea there’s a lion hiding behind the bush, planning his attack. Suddenly, the lion jumps from his hiding place and chases after them. The herd runs. They run for their lives. And then, there’s one … one that strays from the herd. One that wanders off away from the others. One that tries to hide alone. And this is the one the lion attacks.

The lion knew there would be one who would freeze in fear and hide. He knew there would be one who felt they just couldn’t keep up and opted to be alone. That was always the lion’s intent. Run after the herd, and wait for the one who tries to hide. When they’re alone, they’re vulnerable.

And your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Who is most vulnerable to his attack? The one who is alone. The one who is hiding. The one who has dismissed themselves from their family, their friends, their church, their circle, their tribe, their people.

Is there someone in your family who has fallen away and no longer in the circle? I assure you, they’re under attack. The enemy is pouncing on their vulnerability.

Is there someone in your friend group who has grown distant, avoiding contact, and gotten quiet? They’re hiding. Maybe they’re hiding because they’re struggling. Maybe they’re hiding because they don’t feel good enough. Maybe they’re hiding because they don’t want to burden anyone with what’s really going on in their lives. Our enemy capitalizes on those feelings, isolates us from our people, and he attacks.

Who has grown quiet? Who has disconnected? Who has been hiding? THEY ARE VULNERABLE!

Ecclesiastes 4:12, “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

Yes, round up someone to go with you, and bring that wandering one back. Together, find the one who is hiding and protect them from the one who is on the prowl. They’re not safe hiding out in their shame and isolated in their regret.

And you … you, yes you. Have you been hiding? Have you been just lurking on the edges and not truly engaged? Have you been dismissing yourself because the voices in your head tell you you’re not good enough? Have you been escaping behind your walls and isolating in your darkness? Oh the enemy will try to tell you that it’s best for everyone if you just stay quiet and alone. The enemy will try to convince you it’s best for everyone if you just stay back. Those voices will tell you that you were never really wanted, never really part of them, and you’re better off alone. But check those voices … they smell like hell to me!

Yes, I smell the smokey residue from the pits of hell here. This was hell’s plan to position you for attack.

Girl, stop hiding. Get back with your pack! Lock arms with your people again.

Maybe you’ve been so good at disconnecting and hiding that no one even knows to come looking for you. Whew, what a work the enemy has been doing! He’s kept you so isolated for so long that you’ve forgotten who your herd is and that you really were better being part of them. Well, it’s a good thing you have a Shepherd!

Jesus is our good shepherd. He comes to save the one who is lost. He finds the one who has wandered away from the ninety-nine, hiding, or gotten stuck. And do you know what Jesus does when he finds that one? He brings them back into the ninety-nine. He puts them back where they belong in their flock, in their herd, in their family, in their army, in their circle, in their tribe, with their people.

Jesus never leaves us alone. He rescues us and brings us back where we belong. Even while we don’t believe we belong. Even while we’re still covered in the mud and stickers bushes of where we’ve been hiding. Even while we’re fighting him. He brings us back. Jesus brings us back because he loves us, and because he knows we’re so much better in a group than alone.

If you’ve been hiding … stop. Cry out to your shepherd, Jesus, and ask him to take you back where you belong.

If you realize someone in your family, someone in your friend group, someone in your circle, someone on your team, has gone silent and they have withdrawn, see it for what it really is … they’re struggling. Round up a third person and find them. Call them. Message them. Pray for them. Bring them back in.

I have a precious friend who has been a valuable part of my life for many years. She had gone quiet. Stopped responding to messages. Pulled away. I dismissed it assuming her life was busy. But that wasn’t it. Now, I realize the enemy had cornered her. She was hiding in her overwhelm, clouded by feelings of darkness. And let me tell you, that lion almost took her out. He was almost successful in his attempt to kill, steal and destroy. All while I was clueless, dismissing her silence as nothing, or assuming her silence was selfishly about me.

Isn’t it funny how we do that? We turn someone else’s struggle into some sort of personal feeling and we don’t reach out because we’re all tied up in being butt hurt. Hey, get over it! This attack is real. The enemy is on the prowl. Get over yourself and reach out!

If you’re hiding, let yourself be found by the shepherd and let him carry you back. If God’s spirit is prompting you now with a name of someone who has been quiet, hear that name now, and without hesitation or delay, reach out! If God’s spirit is showing you someone’s face right now … who is it … who’s face is in your mind at this moment … yes, reach out. Tell them you miss them. Ask them if they’re okay. Ask to meet up soon. And my goodness gracious, pray for them! Tell the shepherd about the one in your flock who seems to have gone missing.

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