We cope with much in life; however, one of the worst things we confront is loneliness. What does it mean to be lonely? It means to long for something that is missing - something or someone to be part of our life. Our longings come in many forms. We sometimes feel lonely when we’re in a new situation or environment and with it being among unfamiliar faces and places. In other cases, we long to be the same as others. We feel different from other people in a way that makes us feel isolated. Others long for love and friendship. Even when we may have many friends and family members around us, we don’t feel intimately attached to them. We want peace and rest. We get so wrapped up in our lives and jobs, we have no time for ourselves. In turn, we have no time to engage in meaningful or enjoyable relationships or activities. Sometimes, we may feel lonely because we miss having someone else’s quiet presence.
Although we may have an active social circle at work, or have plenty of friends and family, we miss having someone to have for our own — that being, having someone who you know has you on their mind – missing your company, time, and attention. In short, loneliness has a very significant impact on our sense of worth and overall happiness. Scripture acknowledges the existence of loneliness. Psalm 102 captures what it is like to be lonely. The verses go like this: “I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I lie awake, and am like a sparrow alone on the housetop.” Most all of us have experienced being that lone bird on the fence post, chirping for someone to perch next to you.
Loneliness Is a Force That Drives Us. Loneliness is a force within that compels us to address and remedy. We turn to many things to overcome our loneliness. Some seek relationships to fill the void, while others may turn to intellectual endeavors, entertainment, their pets, or most concerning, drugs or alcohol. However, what we eventually discover is that our pursuits for happiness don’t satisfy the void within us, especially over the long term. Far too often, we find ourselves getting increasingly more desperate to address our loneliness, engaging in riskier endeavors, the pursuit of materialism, unhealthy relationships, drugs or alcohol. Eventually, attempts to overcome one’s loneliness can lead to mental illness or worse. So, the question remains as to why, despite our best efforts, we cannot overcome our loneliness?
Understanding Loneliness. In addressing the topic of loneliness, we must understand that being alone and being lonely are two different things. One can be alone without being abandoned, and one can be lonely in a crowded room. Loneliness is, therefore, a state of mind, an emotion brought on by feelings of separation from other human beings. The sense of isolation is very deeply felt by those who are lonely. The Hebrew word translated “desolate” or “lonely” in the Old Testament means “one alone, only; one who is solitary, forsaken, wretched.” No deeper sadness ever comes over the mind than the idea that we are alone in the world, that we do not have a friend, that no one cares for us, that no one is concerned about anything that might happen to us, that no one would care if we were to die or shed a tear over our grave.
Only Christ Can Remedy Our Loneliness. No shortage of literature addresses loneliness and remedies to overcome it. However, what we must realize is that the world has nothing to offer by way of effectively dealing with our loneliness. Why? Because our loneliness stems from a “spiritual thirst” – a thirst that results from being separated from the one God sent – Jesus Christ. See, although loneliness exists in the world, and we are the vessels that contain it, the cure for loneliness cannot be found in the world. The remedy can be only one thing—the comforting fellowship of Christ. Whether you accept this as truth or not, the fact is that we are “wired” to know and be with our Creator. For God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;…” What is said above is that we, as God’s own, possess a mind that is endowed with extraordinary capacities and a soul – a soul perfected to God's own nature. And, the Holy Spirit is the fountain of living waters from which our soul is nourished. Our attempts to nourish our soul by other means can only lead to feelings of isolation, spiritual emptiness, and even desolation.
I Am Right Here. Our loneliness began with our divine parents, Adam and Eve. It was at this point that man was inflicted by the deadly disease of pride and consequently, his determination that he didn’t need God in his life. It was Adam’s fateful decision to disobey God that led him, and all the generations to follow, to a complete and utter state of despair and loneliness. However, Christ has provided the way for man to once again to be reconciled (one) with the Father, and with it, the overcoming of our isolation and resulting loneliness.
Our Lord and Savior knows who you are and always where you are. He calls out to all of us. He doesn’t want us to be lonely, for He yearns for us to be with Him for eternity. See, although we may feel we are a victim of our own loneliness, we’re not. We choose to be lonely. Christ is telling you right now, “Here I am child!” “Come to me so I may be with you.” “Shed not one more tear.” “Come to me and I will give you peace and rest.” “Fear nothing, you are mine and no others!” “This is why I desire for you to know me as you’re your Lord. For I am, and you are my child who I so dearly love. I love you, …always!
Summary. If you take anything away from this article, know that our loving relationship with our Lord and Savior has reassured and encouraged countless thousands who languished in prisons and even went to their deaths. He is the friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), who laid down His life for you (John 15:13-15), and who has promised never to leave or forsake you but to be with you until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).