Have you ever been in a crowd of people, yet still felt lonely? I was talking with a friend last week who could relate to that exact feeling. I have been able to relate many times in my life too. No matter who you are, what personality type you have, or how popular you are, there is a chance that you have felt the sting of loneliness at one time or another. Sometimes we feel excluded from social circles, alone in our parenting decisions, or we feel isolated because of a season of life. Regardless, most of us know that nagging feeling of loneliness, and it sure isn’t pretty.
So, what do we do when loneliness lingers? What then, when it tempts our hearts to move away from joy, toward a dark place that we have no desire to be? Loneliness, if not dealt with properly, can breed anger, bitterness, resentment, and a host of other really ugly things. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this played out in my own life. Believe me when I say, you don’t want those ugly things. No, thank you.
1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our anxiety (or cares) on God, because He cares for us. We must remember that He cares for us, and desires for us to have joy! Our God is FOR us, and not against us (Rom. 8:31). He is FOR our joy. He is not a God that sits idle in the heavens, with no regard for our lives. He cares for us. When we really absorb that, allow it to soak into the dark crevices of our lives, it changes us. It changes how we handle loneliness.
We are never promised perfect relationships or unending mountaintop emotions, but we are promised joy, eternal joy and peace that transcends emotion, when we rest in Him. All throughout the Bible, we find joy in the hearts of those that trusted God with their burdens and allowed Him to use them, even when they felt lonely, dejected and just plain unusable. Turn to Him, who turns our mourning into joyful dancing (Psalm 30:11).
Now, while I believe that God has created us to have relationships, I also believe that he allows seasons when we are pressed to find our contentment in Him. Jesus promised that He would be with us to the end (Matt. 28:20) and we should not take that promise lightly. No matter how lonely we feel on this earth at times, we would do well to remember that this is not our forever home and that Jesus, is in fact with us here and now. Look at the apostle, Paul, who ministered from prison much of the time. Now, THIS was a man who was lonely and afflicted. In 2 Timothy 4, he writes of being alone and deserted when he faced his adversaries. BUT, in verse 17, he writes, “