We have all felt it at some point in our lives, to varying degrees each time it occurs. It is an integral part of the human condition because of our sin-cursed world. It is something that most people desperately try to avoid or escape, only to find it sneak up on them unexpectedly.
How did loneliness first begin?
The answer can be found in Genesis chapter 3, when Adam and Eve separated themselves from God’s fellowship because of their deliberate sin. Their disobedience caused darkness to enter their hearts, which God, the Holy Father, can have no part with, since He is the very essence of purity and light. Cast out of a perfect paradise in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were forced to face their future in the world virtually alone, because they used to walk and talk with God every day before they sinned.
As a result, all of their future descendants would feel a gaping emptiness inside them due to missing God’s loving presence. Countless tears have been shed by many people because of that very first loneliness. Human loneliness is the product of desiring independence apart from God. We were created for His pleasure, to fellowship with Him, and when that fellowship was broken, our souls were broken as well. As humans, we crave affection and interaction with others, so naturally we seek these things in spending time with other people; but the unfortunate reality is, we cannot fill our empty vessels with vessels that are just as empty as we are. It is impossible to find true fulfillment and connection with others who are seeking the exact same thing. God designed us this way in order to draw us back to Him, the only true Source of ultimate fulfillment.
We commonly associate loneliness with being a social outcast, a misfit, or a loner, who has very few to no friends at all. However, anyone can experience loneliness, even with many friends in their social group. A lot of times, loneliness occurs because we feel misunderstood by our peers. Even those who are closest to us are capable of misunderstanding us as a person, since everyone is created as a unique individual.
So what is the solution to this persistent problem?
Because loneliness is an ever-present problem that plagues people’s minds, it is difficult to identify one simple solution for it, since everyone deals with it in different ways. My advice would be this though: try changing your perspective on loneliness instead of trying to make it go away. Trying to permanently get rid of loneliness is like trying to prevent it from raining ever again. It is an inevitable part of this fallen world.
Now, I’m about to suggest something that will seem downright ridiculous to most people, and it will probably shock you the first time you read it –
The next time you’re feeling lonely, embrace it as a gift from God.
“WHAT?!” You may ask. “How can you expect anyone to view an emotion so painful as a gift from God? That’s crazy!”And your reaction would be completely natural and expected. But let me ask you this: If we never felt lonely, would we feel any desire or need to seek God’s presence? Of course not, because then we’d be entirely self-sufficient. That’s why God designed us this way, to need Him at all times, because we really are nothing without Him. We were created to love and worship Him with all our hearts, and if those actions are missing, our lives are vain and empty.
Does God know what it’s like to be lonely?
Jesus, the Son of God Himself, was certainly no stranger to loneliness. The Bible tells us that He was despised and rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3). Apart from His twelve disciples and those who believed on Him, nearly everyone else in Israel hated Him, particularly the religious leaders of the time. In fact, they hated Him so much that they wanted to kill Him when He had done absolutely nothing wrong. During His death on the cross, Jesus experienced the most painful loneliness of all: being separated from His holy Father because of Him bearing our sin. For the first time in the infinite existence of the Holy Trinity, God the Father turned His back on His only Son, Whom He loved so much. Jesus cried out in agony, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?!” Apart from the excruciating physical pain He was feeling from being tortured, and the horrible betrayal by His own human creations, the anguish of His Father abandoning Him was unlike any pain Jesus had ever felt before.
However, there is good news: because of Jesus’ heartbreaking moment of loneliness and separation from His Father on the cross, we have the chance to accept His wonderful gift of salvation, allowing us to be reunited in divine fellowship with God forever! Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, earthly loneliness will be a thing of the past in Heaven if we accept His gift and believe on His holy Name.
But what are we going to do about loneliness until eternity happens?
This is where the miraculous wonder of God’s grace comes in. God is so powerful that He can take something extremely painful in our lives and use it for good – for our spiritual benefit and for His glory. When we’re feeling lonely, we can allow it to consume us emotionally to the point where we’re drowning in self pity; OR we can quiet our hearts, and listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit:
“I want you. I made you. I want you to seek me, and find me. I want to share a close, intimate relationship with you. I want to show you that no one person on this earth is capable of wholly understanding your soul like I do. You are a priceless treasure, and I sacrificed so much just so I could get to know you. Please come to me, and tell me everything that’s in your heart. I long to be your best friend, and dearest companion. Know that I love you more than you could ever possibly imagine.”
God understands how our hearts hurt when we’re lonely. He created the human heart, didn’t He? He feels our every pain, and cares for us deeply. When we feel lonely, God is crying out to us, entreating us to come be with Him. Allow His arms to embrace you with His love, and open your heart to all the warm, Heavenly affection He has for you. Show God your appreciation for Him by giving Him the fellowship with you He deserves. His Son’s blood paid for our souls; don’t let Jesus’ sacrifice be in vain!
So the next time you feel lonely, turn to the One Who understands you best. Jesus is waiting patiently for you to answer His call. Will you listen to His silent cries? It would be shameful to grieve Jesus by ignoring Him when He is the divine Antidote to our painful condition. Don’t make the mistake of making Jesus sad when He loves you so much. Perhaps it is that when you feel lonely, He feels lonely as well, and misses your company.
Here are some verses to assure us that with God, we are never truly alone:
Isaiah 41:10 ~ “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Psalms 27:10 ~ “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”
Romans 8:39 ~ “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Matthew 28:20b ~ “…And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
1 Peter 5:7 ~ “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
John 14:18 ~ “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
1 John 4:13 ~ “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
Psalms 62:8 ~ “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
Hebrews 13:5 ~ “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
These are many affirmations that God is always with us, no matter how lonely we might feel. Let these verses be an encouragement to your heart whenever loneliness occurs, and your soul will be comforted by God’s amazing, unending love.
– Gloria D. Hopkins