One doesn’t have to be alone to experience loneliness. Jesus felt loneliness in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as on the cross at Calvary. It is possible to face loneliness and not feel despair. Similarly, experiencing loneliness does not have to coincide with shame or guilt. When it’s our turn to find ourselves without companionship or facing challenging disappointment or pain, it does not mean there is something wrong with us.
The reality is there are just some hardships and struggles in life we must walk through with no one at our side. Well, that’s not completely true, for God is always at our side, even when we don’t feel His Presence. As a source of spiritual comfort, Psalm 139 is such a beautiful reminder that He is always with us and is intimately aware of all we are facing.
The Normalcy of Loneliness
Each of our life’s journeys will include times of personal doubt as we wrestle against our tendencies toward sin and selfishness. This is part of navigating life’s journey, where overcoming regrets and embracing life transitions become crucial for personal transformation. We all fall short, lose sight of God’s goodness, and become discouraged. At times our feelings of loneliness can be overwhelming, such as when we lose a loved one to death and we miss them intensely. While we all experience different forms of separation and different degrees of sadness, loneliness is something to which we can all relate.
Yet loneliness can also be a good thing because it provides an opportunity for us to recognize what lies beneath the surface. Loneliness leaves us in a position to either draw near to God or remain in a state of misery. It forces us to identify and rely on what’s real in our lives. In this process, we discover the Person and Presence of God, which is essential for spiritual resilience. James 4:8 instructs us to, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” What an amazing promise!
Contributors to Loneliness
How quickly each of us can look around and see what others have and feel “less than” because we don’t have what someone else does. It’s one reason I like to keep the impoverished, the destitute, or families that have to deal with disability and illness within eyesight. It helps me recognize how much I do have. Mostly, our loneliness is a failure on our part to recognize what we do have. It can also come from an unfair expectation of what we think life should look like. Life in our world contains large portions of less than ideal circumstances mixed with really big setbacks and even some tragedy along the way. It’s the human condition no one escapes.
Yet included with those heartaches is the joy of the Lord! We can know our sins are forgiven and we have the promise of eternal life in the Heaven God has made for those who are His! That’s why it’s so important to feed ourselves with a steady diet of reminders to look at life with an eternal perspective. God’s Word is the best source for those reminders, providing us spiritual insight and faith for life in this world.
I want to also speak to the loneliness that comes from the loss of someone we have loved for a long time. We can never make light of this, for we will always miss those close to us when they are gone or while we are apart. But the reminder is this: our separation is just for a season if we are Heaven bound. That’s the perspective needed to ensure our loneliness doesn’t become permanent or life defining.
Those of us who have confessed our sins and made Jesus the Lord of our lives can rest assured that no matter what our circumstance, we have been given permanent access to God. As the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He never leaves us or forsakes us. What comfort to know that even when no one else is around, we are never alone. This assurance is a cornerstone of themes we discuss in our Christian podcast, that emphasizes the importance of faith for life, personal growth, and spiritual success. What a privilege it is to have round the clock access to God, the Creator of all the world, even in our darkest of days. I’m not trying to diminish the emotional pull of loneliness, but neither do I want to diminish or neglect the truth of who God is and what He has promised us.
So, feeling lonely? Remind yourselves of the truth of who God is and what He has promised and provided both now and in the world to come. It will transform your loneliness to thankfulness. We might feel lonely but never forsaken. Sad, but not defeated. God’s truth is forever, while our feelings are but emotions that can shift by the minute. Our thoughts can so easily get hijacked by so many things. Praise God, His truth always triumphs over our feelings!
Will you do what Scripture commands, by “letting this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippines 2:5, KJV)? We are all most content when our minds are focused on what’s eternal and true. With the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s choose to rejoice in the Lord, and be thankful, looking toward the day when God will rule and reign fully in Heaven and Earth.