Now if you’re with me, yesterday for morning devotions, I introduced this topic of loneliness. Dr Paul Tonia. He’s a medical doctor and Christian counsellor, and he maintained that loneliness is the most devastating problem of the age, and I think he’s spot on. And I said yesterday that some people can’t understand how you can be lonely. After all, you’ve got plenty of friends, a busy social life. Why would you feel lonely?
But the sad thing is that loneliness does not diminish in the midst of a crowd. You can be in a crowd of people and still be lonely. I recall reading about
Dr James Lynch. He was a medical doctor, and he claimed that loneliness can actually shorten your life. He wrote the book ‘The Broken Heart‘, and he produced evidence to show that loneliness and isolation can literally break your heart. Now, if the doctor is correct, we’ve got a big problem. We must find a way to master loneliness, or it will master us.
It’s all really about connecting with another person. It’s an emotional pain, isn’t it? Perhaps that’s how you feel today. We can’t experience an intimate relationship with someone else, and maybe you have borne the brunt of broken promises or a broken relationship. Maybe you’ve had a great disappointment in your career. A death in the family. Well, this and many other things can actually lead to loneliness. It makes us feel unwanted, and in fact, we sometimes feel there’s something wrong with us. But have you ever thought that the loneliness that you have can actually be a pathway to God? Because Jesus understands how lonely it can be.
Hebrews 2:14 says, ‘he became flesh and blood by being born in human form.’ Hebrews 4:15, ‘This high priest of ours. He understands our weaknesses.’ Let’s receive the mercy of God, says His Word and find grace to help us in our time of need.
So it’s a great comfort to know that we have a God who understands the emotions. Jesus was despised. He was forsaken of men. Bible talks about him as a man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief, so he knew what loneliness is, what loneliness was all about. But I’m here to say today that loneliness need not be a permanent problem because God, our heavenly father, can actually use those times of loneliness to forge new intimacy with him. And surely that must be a great thing to have.
We doubt our own worth to God, lonely people want to reach out to others. They say, Well, no one’s interested in me, but that’s not true because God’s word in Jeremiah says, ‘I know the plans I have for you. God says they are plans for good and not for evil. They are to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when I pray, when you pray, I will listen. And that’s in Jeremiah 29:11 and 12.
I think the problem is that sometimes our view of God gets mixed up. We can’t see the truth that God through Jesus is a wonderful friend to us.
We might feel like giving up. But God, the scripture says, is the source of every mercy, the one who comforts us and strengthens us in our hardship.
So we have a compassionate, caring God who knows the human heart, the feelings of loneliness, God says, ‘as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I’ will never leave you and never forsake you.‘
So God brings people into our lives. David had Jonathan. Moses, he had Joshua. Paul, well he had special friends. He had Timothy and Barnabas. And when Jesus sent the 70 of his followers out, he sent them in pairs. So I think it’s important to pray that God will give you a friend. Someone special with whom you can relate, who can encourage you and help you. Because in that way it’ll take your mind off your troubles and build a bridge of friendship.
Dear Lord, we give our lives to you as an offering that pleases you. Help us Lord to be attentive to the fact that you are with us. Lord there are lonely people or there are people who are disappointed, who are fed up with life. But we can wait upon you. And we can realise the things that bind us can sometimes be the things Lord that you will take and bless and use. And so we pray for those who feel lonely that you will bring friendship and healing to them. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.