Years after her husband died, Joan still says, “I’m lonely, Kathi. It’s so hard to be alone.” Like Joan, many are lonely because their soulmate is gone.
Others, although surrounded by family in their home, active on Facebook or social media sites, and conversing with people as they shop the grocery aisle – are lonely. In the midst of noise and activity, they, nonetheless, feel completely alone.
It’s sad. And it happens to many of us. I am not a stranger to loneliness. For whatever reason, sometimes from rejection, frequently unexplainable, and often misunderstood by others, we are lonely.
God wrote the book on loneliness. He certainly did not intend us to be lonely. He doesn’t want it for us. But He understands.
He understood the Psalmist as he poured out His heart to God, asking that his enemies be scattered, and He understands us.
Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies.
Let those who hate God run for their lives.
Blow them away like smoke.
Melt them like wax in a fire.
Let the wicked perish in the presence of God.
The lonely Psalmist asks God to get rid of his/her enemies, and we must do so too. This might be people – or it might be unavoidable grief – or unwarranted bitterness that has developed – or something we are dwelling on that needs to drift away, like smoke. Our enemy needs to go, and we must let it go.
I patiently waited, LORD,
for you to hear my prayer.
You listened and pulled me from a lonely pit
full of mud and mire.
Let the Father lift you up. Pull you up. See His hands reaching to you. Feel His arms holding you.
After the Psalmist asks God to scatter his enemies, He praises God. He rejoices and is happy and joyful. He sings to God and extols His attributes and faithfulness. And he cites God’s faithfulness to us – a promise we must read over and over. A promise we must trust:
God places the lonely in families.
God sets the lonely in a homeland.
Our Faithful God will set us – will place us – in a family – in a homeland. This is a place where we will not be lonely. It might still be within our own home but without that pit of despair we feel. It might be a state of our being rather than a physical place. God knows the place. And we can trust Him to set us there. One thing we know is that it will be a place of peace.
And directly following that promise, we are reminded that the Lord God is faithful. This, by the way, is one of the things we have to rejoice in! And this reminder strengthens our faith.
We also learn from the Psalmist that we are protected – that my heart is protected from loneliness.
. . . for in you I take refuge.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.
We must not waver in our adherence to the moral and ethical principles God has designed in His Word. We must be sound in the Faith, and we must be honest. Integrity and uprightness can protect us from becoming lonely. They also can protect us from remaining lonely.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places – for prayer. And to grieve.
Learning takes place in lonely places. But like Jesus, we mustn’t remain there. We find that instead of Jesus going back to where He was, sometimes God led Him elsewhere. And God will lead you.
Jesus did not dwell in His grief or in His loneliness. Instead, He had compassion on the people, and He left His place of loneliness to minister to them.
We can learn from Jesus. And we can trust His promises
. . . because my hope, Lord, is in you.
Bible passages given in this article are from NLT and CEV:
Psalm 25:16; Psalm 40:2; Psalm 68:1-6; Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16