God’s cure for loneliness
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Isaiah 41:10
Devotional text: Romans 8:38-39
What does it mean to feel lonely? It’s more than being by one’s self. Its meaning has more to do than just the mere being alone. It’s a sadness we feel when there is no one with us; the feeling that no one cares; that we are in it alone.
We all feel this way at various times of our lives, especially when we lose someone or have a broken relationship. The loss of a job, a place to live, even moving to a new place where we don’t know anyone; all these circumstances can lead to feelings of total isolation, bringing on sadness inside our spirits.
Professionals will tell us to get out and do something. Just taking a walk and getting some fresh air helps to clear our minds. Then, do things where you can meet new people. Volunteer your time in helping others. Join an organization for self-help. Find a church. Contact a friend, visit a local pastor or seek help from a counselor.
Reading books that are positive and uplifting to our spirits can be very helpful during these times. Watching videos by positive speakers can often give us renewed strength and a better attitude about ourselves.
The thing is, we were not made to be by ourselves. God made us for relationship. The one relationship that will never fail us is our relationship with God.
In the Old Testament Psalms, we find some of the greatest words of hope when we go through times of feeling lonely.
Psalm 34:18 tells us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
In Psalm 25:16-17, the writer gives us a prayer to God in a time of loneliness: “ … I am lonely and afflicted, relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.”
Psalm 38:9 shows us our feelings of loneliness and our cry to God for help: “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.”
Then, we read Psalms of hope, like Psalm 62:8: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us” and Psalm 147:3: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up our wounds.”
We also find help from the Lord in the Book of Isaiah, who tells us in 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you … ”
As we read the scripture, we find the greatest truth of all, that is, God is with us always, even in our loneliness. We are not truly alone, because God is with us, in our hearts and in our minds, speaking to us through scripture and prayer.
There is the great hope found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians 4:6-7, when he says, “be anxious for nothing … and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.”
There is truly nothing like this peace provided by Jesus in our times of need. It calms us. It surrounds us like a blanket of peace and hope. We can pray for God’s peace, and he will give it to us.
At other times, when we can’t pray due to our own feelings of despair, God who knows us through and through, will envelop us with his peace and calm.
In 1 Peter 5:7, the Apostle reminds us to “cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
At times, when we feel that we have no one else in the world who cares for us, the holy scripture is a reminder that we are not alone. Not only that, but our God is with us and our God always cares for us. We can rest in him.
In the words of Jesus found in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
There are times when we just need to rest and re-group. Jesus knows that. He provides a place for us to rest in both his Word and in prayer.
If you wonder just how much he loves you, read these words of Paul found in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When we are ready to face the world again, Paul also has written to us concerning how we should treat one another. In Romans 12:9-21, Paul reminds us to “cling to what is good … be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer … practice hospitality … rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, live in harmony with one another … Be careful to do what is right … and do not take revenge.”
When Christ came into this world, he was given the name Jesus, which means God saves. Matthew 1:23 and Isaiah 7:14 both refer to Jesus as Immanuel, which means God with us. He is the God who is always with us, and he is the God who saves us from despair.