God’s Healing for Our Hurts: Loneliness

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Notes:

rainy-daysI believe that God has given us the keys to overcome many of the emotional struggles
we face within the pages of His Word. Not only that, but God cares about the wounds you suffer, the tears you cry, the pains you experience. One way I know this is because Jesus experienced so many of the things that you and I experience.

In the opening pages of the Bible we see a picture of God and the first humans having a close relationship. This is what God intended – for us to be close to Him, for us to experience relationships with other people. When those ties are severed, we are left with loneliness. 

It may be hard for some to imagine loneliness being a struggle. When Jesus was born there were only about 250 million people in the world, today we have almost 7 billion! We can communicate with the world with the push of a button or two on a device we carry with us everywhere we go … yet loneliness haunt us. 

“In the silence of night I have often wished for just a few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people.” ~Judy Garland

Loneliness is a fact of life for many people.

“To feel lonely is to feel disconnected. For those who have difficulty in starting a Close relationship, it is felt as the lack of being wanted and belonging.” (Lutzer)

“All religion, all life, all art, all expression comes down to this: to the effort of the human soul to break through its barrier of loneliness – of intolerable loneliness – and make some contact with another seeking soul, or with what all souls seek, which is (by any name) God.” ~Don Marquis, 1934 (via Baxter)

Loneliness can affect older people, especially after the death of a loved one. Divorced people, youth people, mothers, college students, newly retired persons… A wide variety of people can experience loneliness.

Many Biblical characters experienced loneliness. Strong and passionate King David wrote:

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. ~Psalm 25:16-18

 

Even Jesus experienced loneliness. Isaiah 53:3 says that Jesus was “despised and
forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . … ” Christ understands your loneliness for He, too, was lonely at times.

One problem we face is that we try to fix our problem with loneliness on our own. Lonely people can fall into illicit sexual activities to try to fill a void. But other ways to fill that void are equally ineffective such as spending money to buy things, eating, rejecting friendships, getting lost in television or the Internet. For some, despondency leads to suicide. Can God really heal our hurtful loneliness?

 

God’s Healing Begins When We Reconcile Ourselves to God. Trying to overcome such a deeply personal struggle without being a follower of God is impossible. If loneliness has driven you into sinful behavior, the first step in allowing God to heal your hurts is to turn back to Him. 

Astronomer Carl Sagan said, “In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.” As someone who did not believe in God, Sagan was left with only the company of fickle humans to offer him comfort. When we open the Bible we find the story of the God who came to save us, reconcile us to God, and to rescue us from our own sin. Without prayer, Scripture study, and seeking God, we have little hope of escaping true loneliness.

God’s Healing Comes Through the Promises of God. When suffering from loneliness you may be hearing lies from our Enemy. Satan may be telling you that no one would want to be your friend, or that finding someone to be close to would be impossible for you. But our hope is not in the lies of Satan nor in our own feelings about ourselves…but in the promises of God found in the Bible.  HERE is a link to Kenneth Boa’s list of promises found in each of the books of the Bible.  When you feel loneliness creeping in, fight back with the promises of God found in the Bible. 

In John 14-16 there are several promises made by Jesus Christ.

– John 14:1-3  He has prepared a place for us.

– John 14:16-18 He has not left us like orphans, but he will come for us.

– John 15:9 He loves us just as His father loved him.

– John 15:12-13 Love one another as He has loved us.

Even in his most difficult hour Jesus avoided the trap of loneliness by remembering one thing:

“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” ~John 16:32

 

God’s Healing Blesses Us When We Reach out and Develop RelationshipsThis is hard to do because we often feel alone in our loneliness. The truth is that you are never alone … God is with you. And many Christians have experienced loneliness and would like the opportunity to be your friend. The prophet Elijah once felt very isolated and alone (1 Kings 19:14-15, 18). Though he felt alone, he was not alone – there were 7,000 potential friends with whom he could associate! The same is to be true for you. Not only are you not alone, but there are more people who feel as you feel and believe as you believe than you presently know!

 

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is 
love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day

“Where a people prays, there is the church; and where the church is; there is never
loneliness.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

God’s Healing is Experienced as we Heal OthersLoneliness makes us self-centered. Overcome it by seeking to bless another person. Isaiah 58:10 says, “and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

 

 

God’s Healing is Sought and Found in Prayer. Ask the Lord to reveal to you the people who may be your future friends. At the same time, ask Him to bring to your mind those friends whom you may have neglected recently; ask Him to show you ways in which you might rekindle old friendships. God can use our times of loneliness to forge new intimacy with Him that will sustain us even in the most desperate moments.

 

Henry Francis Lyte walked into his study … an old man… near the end of the journey. He was tired and ill. The doctor told him that he had only a few months to live. He thumbed the well-worn Bible on his desk and it fell open at one of his favorite passages: “Abide with us; for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent.”

In the quiet of his curtained study, he read and reread those familiar comforting words.  And all at once he was no longer old and tired! All at once he was no longer sad and burdened, no longer discouraged! Words sang through his mind; and he put them down on paper; and in less than an hour he had written one of the most beautiful and inspiring hymns of all time: “Abide With Me”. (Baxter)

 

In our lonely times, let us seek God’s presence and ask Him to abide with us.

 

Resources:

Facing Our Loneliness, a message by Charles F. Stanley
Developing inner strength by Charles F. Stanley. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Dealing With Life’s Pressures by Charles F. Stanley. Atlanta: In Touch Ministries.
Facing the Giants in Your Life by David Jeremiah. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
When Life Tumbles In by Batsell Barrett Baxter. Baker books, 1974.
Managing Your Emotions by Erwin Lutzer, Victor Books, 1985.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

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