Read Psalm 25:16-17
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish. (NIV)
It has been said that the English language has created two words to describe aloneness. One is solitude, which expresses the comfort and delight of being alone. The busy, overactive person who is beset with the problems of so many other people can rejoice in finally having time alone.
Solitude is a good place for those who find it difficult to reflect on who they are, what they are doing, and why they are doing it. Jesus embraced solitude as he withdrew from the press of people and reoriented himself into the purposes of his Father.
The other word for human aloneness is not so positive. That word is loneliness. It describes the sense of not having any human support, of being under attack or being perplexed and having no one around you to understand. This is what the psalmist is expressing. Devoid of human support or insight he rightly seeks these things from the only one who truly understands and loves him.
You cannot experience solitude in a crowd of people, but you can certainly experience loneliness. Very sociable people can be very lonely people. Solitude has more to do with our immediate environment, whereas loneliness has more to do with our inner state. Out of our loneliness we cry out to God for companionship. Out of our solitude we gratefully experience the companionable presence of God.