I think we all go through times of loneliness in our lives. Some times are short, others last for a while.
King David was a man who knew what it meant to experience loneliness. Because I know that he was a man after God’s own heart and that he could feel lonely, I can be encouraged during my times of loneliness
So what is loneliness? It’s the sick feeling in your gut that medicine can’t cure. It’s the anxiety that stays with you all the time, sometimes smothering you in the middle of the night. It’s the deep pain that runs through you when we hear a certain song or see a certain pictures. It’s the stress that slowly wears you down until you have no energy or enthusiasm left. Most of all, loneliness is a longing for completeness.
How do we handle loneliness? I think we all handle it differently. Some people turn to food while others turn to alcohol, drugs, or even work. We strain relationships by placing unrealistic demands on them. Maybe we try to live in a fantasy world. Some people deal with loneliness by taking their own life.
Let me just put this out there…loneliness is a crisis we all face at times. There are lonely people everywhere we look…singles, single parents, survivors, widows/widowers, senior citizens. There are people who are lonely because of physical suffering who feel that no one understands their pain. There are lonely servants of God. People who lay aside their lives to go onto the mission field. There is loneliness in church leadership at times too.
It’s not a sin to be lonely. It’s a symptom of being human, of being created in the image of God. Why did God create us? For fellowship with Him. So when we’re feeling lonely, maybe we need to look at our relationship with God first.
There are lots of examples of loneliness in the Bible. You see, God knew that we would be lonely and He gave us great characters in the Bible who were just as human as we are and who faced the same trials we face, including loneliness. Some classic examples are
- David – turn to the Psalms and you’ll read about his loneliness
- Job – need I saw more?
- Jeremiah – hence of the book of Lamentations
- Paul – In 2 Timothy 4:9-11 you can feel his loneliness
Through these examples and more, we see that you can accomplish a lot, bless many other people, and even change your world all while still being a lonely person. We can see that loneliness is not a sin, but we sin when we begin to indulge in it. We sin when we begin ignoring the Biblical ways of confronting it. We sin when we let loneliness possess us and ruin our lives. We don’t have to fall into that sin of indulging in our loneliness. The Bible offers us an escape.
I believe that there are four things we can do to be liberated from loneliness.
First, we need to acknowledge the reality of our loneliness. We have to be honest about our feelings. Loneliness is real and it’s painful. It’s not a reflection of weakness. Loneliness doesn’t necessarily come because of something you or someone else did or because of something you lack. Loneliness comes because you are a human being and we all get lonely at some time in our life. When you admit that you’re lonely, you can then more on to deal with it in God’s way. You need to be honest with God about it. Until you are honest with God, there is no getting over it.
Once you acknowledge that you are lonely, then you must accept God’s provision for your loneliness. We need to realize, as Christians, that ultimately only God can fix what’s broken in our lives. He made us with certain characteristics and one of them is that we all have emptiness that only He can fill. Nothing can satisfy us besides knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Jesus experienced the ultimate loneliness when He hung on the cross for our sins. But because He did that, we can know God intimately as His children. We will have moments of disconnect and loneliness here on earth, but eternal loneliness is no longer a threat to us. If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit is with you to comfort you, encourage you, and to point to a better way. “Greater is He who lives with us than he who is in the world.”
When I am lonely, I will trust the Lord, be honest about my feelings, and I will rely on the Holy Spirit who lives in me to see me through this time and I am confident that He will. Once you do that, allow God’s Word to fill your heart and your mind. Once you’ve acknowledged your feelings and embraced your faith, you have to immerse yourself in the Word of God. There is nothing like the Word of God to speak clearly to the lonely. When you begin to feel lonely, run, don’t walk, RUN to the Word of God.
Another thing you need to do is that you need to run to the fellowship of other believers. I thank God He made provisions for me through the church. Most of the books in the New Testament were written to whole congregations. We, as believers, are incomplete without the unity of believers serving one another through our particular gifts.
Some might say, “I don’t know anyone”. Well, the Bible says, “he would have a friend must show himself friendly”. If you act like you are mad at the world, then don’t expect too much fellowship to come your way.
Some might say, “I don’t like to take the initiative”. Well, we can’t read each other’s minds and if we are hurting, how can people know our need if we don’t make that need known?
Some might say, “No one really cares”. Well, it’s hard to care about a mere face in the crowd. Don’t linger in the background at church. Be a vital part of the church.
Loneliness is a choice. Some people enjoy their misery and spreading it around. But God has made way of escape. Escaping from loneliness is a possibility…if we really want to escape.
So what about you…Do you want to escape from loneliness?