There is a huge difference between being alone and being lonely. Often we find ourselves alone either by choice or by circumstances and many times we don’t mind. Being alone can be peaceful, even restorative. It allows us time to think and reflect, to pursue our own interests uninterrupted, and above all, allows us time to be alone with God.
But, loneliness is very different, isn’t it? And loneliness has nothing to do with being alone or single, does it? Many who are married are often lonely, and many surrounded by others can feel isolated. Loneliness also has nothing to do with age, or social or economic status. It is a condition common to and experienced by everyone at some point in their lives.
Loneliness is a vacuum. Something is missing: love or companionship. As our pastor reminded us this week, we were made in God’s image, and God is all about relationship––between the Godhead itself in the form of the Trinity, between God and us, and between us and others.
Even Jesus, as fully man, had to experience loneliness, probably most acutely on the cross, when not only had most of his friends abandoned him, but even God the Father had to turn His back on him because of the sin he was carrying.
There is no vaccine for loneliness. Loneliness is most often a result of a loss of some kind, and since we live in a temporal world, loss is a given.
But just like nothing on earth lasts forever, we must also realize that our loneliness also will not last forever. There will be others who come into our lives and help fill those human holes.
In the meantime, we need to hold fast to God’s promises to us, because even though we may ride the waves of human emotions, God promises some constants.
“. . . I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28:20
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
“He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3
“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5)
Finally, if you are struggling with loneliness right now, I want to leave you with the chorus from Casting Crowns’ recent song “Just Be Held.” May it bless you. You are loved. You are loved indeed.
“So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held.”