“A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families.” (Psalm 68:5-6, NKJV).
More than once I’ve heard an acquaintance declare he would be happy to live as a hermit. He enjoys spending time alone out in the country—a great way to destress—but would he really thrive with long-term isolation? I doubt it. We need people in our lives. That’s just how God designed us. He never intended for us to go through life alone.
“And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Although my hermit friend enjoys being alone in the great outdoors, loneliness is more than just a physical separation from others. We are lonely when we feel disconnected or misunderstood, and that can happen even when surrounded by others.
There are so many lonely people in the world, but I never considered it as an epidemic. Yet, that’s what the U.S. Surgeon General recently declared. Loneliness is now considered a public health epidemic. It impacts both our mental and physical health. In fact, loneliness is considered as deadly as smoking up to fifteen cigarettes a day and can lead to numerous health issues.
Some people turn to social media to try to fill the loneliness void, but that is not the answer. A recent study suggests that increased time on social media leads to higher levels of loneliness.
There are many reasons why even a child of God experiences times of loneliness. They may have encountered a recent crisis in their life. Or perhaps they have entered a different season in life than those around them. If they lack a good support system, they may feel like no one is there for them. They may have allowed these circumstances to hinder their relationship with the Lord, which creates its own kind of distance and loneliness.
How do we respond when we are overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness?
Realize that the Lord understands.
One person described Jesus as probably the loneliest person in the world. His family did not fully understand His mission, nor did His disciples. The religious leaders of that day did all they could to discredit Him. The crowds were fickle. He was misunderstood, scorned, and rejected. (Read Isaiah 53:3.) Because of all He endured, He understands how it feels to be forsaken, lonely, and misunderstood, even by those closest to us. Be assured He will not forsake us during our loneliest times.
Speaker and author Kay Arthur advises:
“Snuggle in God’s arms. When you are hurting, when you feel lonely, left out, let Him cradle you, comfort you, reassure you of His all-sufficient power and love.”
Fill your mind with the God’s Word.
The Bible contains so many encouraging passages. Select several that really speak to you, copy them on cards, and refer to them often. Remind yourself frequently that you are never alone. The Lord is always with you.
(Some suggested verses: Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 27:10, Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 41:10, Romans 8:31-38, I Peter 5:7.)
Stay close to body of Christ.
As we struggle, it’s easy to shut ourselves off from others. But those are the times we need the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in the Lord the most. Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the solitary (lonely) in families. Allow the family of God to minister to you.
“Some Christians try to go to heaven alone, in solitude. But believers are not compared to bears or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep in this respect, that they love to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.” —Charles Spurgeon
Ask God to use this season of life for His glory.
You may be struggling now, but God can use your testimony to support and strengthen someone in the future. Pray that God will use your experience to encourage someone else during their season of loneliness.