Previously on this blog, we looked at practical ways to dispel loneliness this Christmas. Now, we want to look at what the Bible says about the subject by confronting the FAQ of being alone:
This is a difficult one. Many would say that yes, in some cases God has designed certain individuals to be alone. But it is my (Emma) opinion, after having studied the overall theme of the Bible that being alone is not the norm. I won’t speak on singleness since I have already done that extensively on this blog (see the ‘Sex, Singleness And Self-Control’ series here: https://usydstudentlife.wordpress.com/2013/09/).
Loneliness is seasonal and not intended to be prolonged. Even when the Old Testament prophets admitted to loneliness, they had God who faithfully kept them company. We are particularly lucky in this day and age since we have the very words of God to keep us comfort when we are lonely.
God created us to need and desire companionship. See Ecclessiates 4:9-12 (often quoted in the context of marriage, but also applicable in terms of friendship).
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”
2. Does God care about my loneliness?
God does more than care about our loneliness, He has felt it and can sympathise with us through it. He created our emotions. He understands what we’re feeling even more than we do.
Jesus’ life was plagued by loneliness. In human form, He was completely misunderstood because He was God and let’s just be honest, how hard is that to explain?! But when He was on the cross – when He voluntarily took the weight of our sin, He was alone. Matthew 27:46 tells us that Jesus grieved alone, crying out to God – His only comfort – asking Him not to forsake Him. He was completely alone. No man nor God was with Him.
In our loneliness, God is with us and promises that He will never leave us because of the promise He made through Jesus’ sacrifice (Hebrews 13:5). The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we serve a God who understands us entirely.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
3. How can I channel my loneliness into positive energy?
Have you ever wondered why your church prayer meetings are usually populated with widows? Because they’re lonely and they acknowledge that through prayer God meets them in their loneliness and ministers to them.
Prayer is communing with God, we cannot be lonely when we are with Him. He wants to hear from us, and even though He knows you’re hurting, He wants you to turn to Him and tell Him your pain.
When you’re lonely, act like the widow in 1 Timothy 5:5 and “continue in supplication and prayer the night and the day”.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
God’s timing is perfect and unlike us, He isn’t in a hurry. I’ve spoken about this before in my singleness series, how at times it feels like God has forgotten about me in my loneliness and so it is my duty to remind Him. Coping with loneliness may be a way that God is stretching our character and teaching us to rely on Him to provide our needs. We need to know who we are in Him before we can find satisfaction with each other (sorry Mick Jagger, but that’s the key).
There’s a song by the band Plus One that has the line “You’ll never rate your happy without sad on the chart.” It’s true. Without experiencing loneliness, we can’t appreciate company and we’re bound to take each other for granted.
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Loneliness breeds fear for the future and feelings of hopelessness. We can tell ourselves that God is with us as much as we want, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like He is here. But God inhabits the intangible promise of hope and strength that keeps us waking up every morning with even the faintest feeling of purpose or accomplishment.
We often don’t believe God’s promises because we don’t feel like they have been fulfilled in our lives. We tell ourselves that we do believe it, and perhaps mentally we do. But if we don’t have the knowledge in our experiential understanding, we won’t feel like they are applicable.
I think the problem is that a lot of the time we have a fabricated vision of what a Christian should feel like, and if we don’t measure that impossibility, then we must keep our failure silent. No. No-one feels vibrant and energetic all the time. We all have downer days. We need to admit that we’re human and help each other to move on.
In my opinion, Hebrews 10:25 says more about supporting each other through hardships, than it does about attending church and keeping up appearances. It’s a call to persevere and help each other through loneliness, so that all our needs might be adequately met.
“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,…”
When we worry and fear over the future, we need to hold onto His promises. I know that this is easier said than done, and we need help to do it. That is, help from each other and help from God to make the knowledge experiential.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I don’t know what your situation is, but for me, this year, my situation has been particularly lonely. My friends are all either married, on their way their or moving far, far away. I’m still here, living with my parents (who are really cool people and I love them very much!) and I’m single. My hope this year has come from David’s Psalms. Particularly these three verse:
…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
This too shall pass. But we need each other to get through it. Lean on your Christian brothers and sisters, but most of all, learn to come to Him for your security.
Stay strong brethren,