By Chris WittsSaturday 22 Nov 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Talking again today about this problem of lonely people . An old lady sat in her wheelchair in the aged care complex where she has been a resident for many years. One day a friendly and compassionate visitor came and sat next to her,and started talking. As the visitor got up and prepared to leave,the old lady grabbed her hand “aren’t you going to move in here with me? Can’t you just stay?”. The visitor tried to explain this was not her home. “Oh well. I’m glad you can go home. This is just a terrible place to be” she said sadly. How sad to think there are many people like this who are desperately lonely. Loneliness has been a common problem for centuries. It was TS Eliot the great poet who wrote “Hell is oneself,Hell is close; The other figures in it merely projections. There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to. One is always alone”.
Henri Nouwen said in his book “The Wounded Healer” that isolation is among the worst of human sufferings”. And I agree with him ..we are lonely when we have no-one to share our likes,dislikes,our proud or shameful moments,our worries,dreams,our joys and sorrows.
But,I think it’s important to remember that loneliness is not a Life sentence. You can do something about it ..Loneliness has surprisingly little to do with being alone. You could be hundreds of miles from the nearest human and be happy and enjoy the peace of solitude,or you could be a newlywed with your wife in your arms and find yourself plagued by the gnawing emptiness of loneliness.. No matter how loved and popular we are,we can have pain and heartache that no one else feels; fears and opinions that those close to us don’t share or understand; and times when we are separated from someone we want to be with. Maybe the problem is you don’t like yourself -and if that is true,you’ll always feel alone,and you’ll drag your gloom into any future relationship.
If we don’t like ourselves,it means we are not seeing ourselves through God’s eyes. Do you know that God thinks the world of us ? Jesus gave everything for us. No human has ever loved anyone with the intensity that God loves you. Yes,he sees room for improvement,but being God,he is powerful enough and loving enough to be working right now in your life,even if you’re not aware of it happening … When you welcome the God of the impossible into your life,permitting him to have His way with you,you are a divine masterpiece under construction. If Jesus is your Saviour,you have had a spiritual transformation has exploded within you such that a lifetime isn’t nearly enough to catch up with all that has happened to you. Having God in your life not only means you are never without a companion who truly loves and understands you and believes in you,it means you have the power to enrich other people’s lives. Let God rule your conversations and direct your life and you need never shrink from people,thinking you have nothing to offer them. With the Almighty in your life,there can be no such thing as inadequacy. Reach out to people and you will be a continual source of blessing and inspiration,you won’t have time to be lonely,even if you find yourself alone.
Henri Nouwen wrote …”When you experience the deep pain of loneliness,it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away,even if only for a moment. When you feel a huge absence that makes everything look useless,your heart wants only one thing-to be with the person who once was able to dispel these frightful emotions. But it is the absence itself,the emptiness within you,that you have to be willing to experience,not the one who could temporarily take it away.” Knowing God is with you as your divine friend and Jesus as Saviour meets every need you have.
Yes,Loneliness is one of life’s most painful experiences. Since God created us as relational beings,the absence of companionship can be very discouraging. At some point,all of us have probably dealt with feelings of isolation. But it’s especially difficult when we’re going through a trying situation and there is no one to help or encourage us.
What we want at that moment is companionship,support,and comfort so that our emotional pain will go away. But sometimes the situation persists,and the isolation seems as if it will go on forever. At times like this,we need courage to endure. God helps us in our loneliness. Psalm 31:14,14 “I trust you,Lord,and I claim you as my God. My life is in your hands”.
Did you know that God can use your loneliness to achieve His purposes in your life? Sometimes He allows such situations because they are prime opportunities to develop godly character within us,train us to depend on Him,and bring us into a closer relationship with Him. When we’re all alone and others are unable or unwilling to help,He is the One who never leaves us.
The Apostle Paul knew the pain of loneliness. After many years of faithful service to the Lord he found himself in a cold,dank Roman prison. His last letter to Timothy gives us a glimpse of his conditions,priorities,and attitude during the final days of his earthly life. Although he had continually given himself in service to others,at the end of his life,Paul was lonely; only Luke was with him (2 Tim. 4:9-16). Demas,one of his former companions,had deserted him,and other coworkers had moved on to various places. And sadly,at his first defense before the Roman court,Paul says,”No one supported me,but all deserted me” (v. 16).. Paul was a flesh-and-blood person with all the weaknesses of humanity. He struggled with feelings,frustrations,and difficulties,just as you and I do. Put yourself in his place,and feel the discomfort and isolation of his last days. He missed the company of those he loved and felt the pain of being deserted by Demas. The constraints and discomforts of prison life added to his sense of isolation. He was no longer free to do what he loved most-to travel the world,spreading the gospel,starting churches,and discipling believers. And with each passing day,he knew his death was imminent.
When he was called before the Roman authorities to make his defense,no one supported him. Yet he tells us that he was not alone. The Lord stood with him and strengthened him so that he could fully accomplish God’s purposes (v. 17).
Though the Romans ruled the world,the Ruler of the universe was standing beside Paul. When he faced the court,I am sure his courage grew as his thoughts raced to past situations when the Lord had been with him in danger and difficulty.
Even though our personal experiences with God are invaluable,our greatest source of assurance is the Bible. Throughout its pages,the Lord tells His people that He is with them The reality of God’s constant presence with us is a fact,but we are not always aware of Him,especially in lonely periods. Haven’t you sometimes wondered,If He’s with me,why can’t I sense Him? Why do I feel so alone? When His presence is undetectable,our courage to face isolation and difficulty weakens. At times like this,we need to depend on fact,not feelings. Rely on the truth that He will never leave or forsake those who have been saved (Heb. 13:5).