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Chapter 11

Feeling lonely or alone?

 

Ever felt lonely? Ever been alone and not liked it? Are you lonely or alone right now? It's not always too nice, particularly over a long time. Loneliness is one of life's most difficult emotions, as it can lead to many other negative emotions, particularly fear and depression.

Alone or lonely?

There is a difference between the two. You can be alone without feeling lonely. Many people live alone and can even quite enjoy it. However, it is also possible to be in a crowd or even with people you know and feel lonely. Being alone is not generally a problem unless you feel lonely. That state of loneliness is generally described as feeling isolated and companionless, a needing to be with someone. If those feelings result in fear, depression or some other negative emotion, then the life of the person can deteriorate badly.

The nature of loneliness.

If you are lonely, you might be relieved to know that even Jesus, when he was alone, was comforted by the fact that God the father was with him. ( John 16:32 ) another lonely writer said that darkness was his closest friend. ( Ps. 88:18 ) still another, that no one was concerned for him. He had no refuge and no one cared for his life. ( Ps 142:4 ) job even said that all his intimate friends detested him. ( Job 19:19 ) how much is it that way to people in this day and age?

The forms of loneliness.

Loneliness has many forms. It can bring financial pressures, or nobody to help around the house, or just sap our energy because there is no other person to motivate or be motivated by. It can also result from a silent telephone. Mostly though, it is those quite intangible sharing privileges that are the most missed, the sensitivities, the touching, the caring, the sharing. These were what mattered most to brian and to sue, who both experienced loss and grief. Their stories follow.

Effects of loneliness.

Brian was about 30 years old when his second marriage broke up. He found himself to be alone and desperately lonely, despite having a younger female friend. Although brian saw his children regularly, he was still lonely and yearning for a normal home life. His female companion did not live with him but he was so dependent on her that he could not let her go, either to be free to attempt a marriage reconciliation or to find a new partner.

This poor relationship resulted in other tentative relationships being formed, none of which were totally satisfying. Brian's health began to suffer and he became very tense and tired. He had all manner of psychological counselling which, whilst it did a good job sustaining him for some years, his whole personality began to disintegrate. Loneliness and all that it leads to, were the primary causes. Later he realised that what he really needed was God.

Sue had a similar life situation, but with some differences. She was left by husband and had two small children to raise. It is easy to imagine incredible loneliness, anger and fear that results from such a situation. After Sue was divorced, she was lonely, so she had several other male relationships, none of which ever filled the gap she had in her life. Sometimes, without the lord, people do not get their needs satisfied.

You could say that loneliness forces some response from every person. Sometimes the response can be good, being one that does not result in further difficulty and enhances the life style of the person. In many other cases however, it results in behaviour, which although might comfort for the time being, it does not result in stability or growth in the person. Both Brian and Sue were like that for many years.

Brian however was more fortunate. Through quite unique circumstances brian was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ, agreed he was a sinner and came to believe in all that Jesus had done for him. Chapter 19 on salvation and eternal life shows what brian gained. He had sought this truth for many years and at the lowest ebb of his life, found what he had been looking for. It made all the difference. He was provided for in so many ways, but particularly in the provision of people to teach him the ways of God and to love him the way that God loved them. It took some years for him to get his life in order again. The important thing to know is that once God takes hold of a person who is prepared to do things God's way, then that person is bound to prosper in every way. And that's what happened to brian. Once he found a church where he could express his commitment, people soon began to care for him.

What's the answer to loneliness?

Earlier in this chapter it was mentioned that Jesus was comforted by the presence of father God. You can be too. And that comfort will be beyond what any human being can ever do. Of course, sometimes the comforting that a Christian believer experiences is from other human beings, whether they be believers or not. God uses many people to provide comfort to others. Mother Teresa would be a good well known example. Another would be when the_ british royal family visits a scene of natural or man made disaster to provide encouragement and comfort for those who are suffering. But the sort of comforting being referred to here is the comfort that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and experiencing the comfort and guidance of the holy spirit. That's what Brian began to receive after he committed his life to God. God himself promises his continuous presence to all who believe in him. God has said:

" Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

and so we can say in confidence,

The lord is my helper; I will not be afraid."

What can man do to me?" ( Hebrews 15: 5-6).

Jesus himself, in a statement to john for every man and woman, said these wonderful words. They are especially for you if you are not a believer.

" Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and one opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." ( Revelation 3:20.)

Jesus here means that he is knocking at the door of each heart, for it is a decision of the heart that admits Jesus.

A further promise concerning an approach to God is found in James 4:8.

" Draw near to God and he will draw near to you " what could be simpler?

How to do that is found in Part 3 of the book on pages 39. Have a read of it now. It doesn't matter what your problem is. The beginning of the answer is always Jesus. Whether your problem is loneliness, divorce, drugs, no money or no partner, the answer always begins with Jesus. If you focus on him, all other things in your life will come to pass. Jesus said that he came to earth that we all might have fullness of life. That is available for all who believe in him. Especially you.

What this chapter has said.

  1. Being lonely can bring on many other negative feelings, although it does not have to be that way.
  2. Even Jesus appreciated the presence of the Father with him.
  3. Loneliness can bring many other pressures that in turn can result in further and deeper difficulties.
  4. God uses all manner of people to comfort others.
  5. Jesus promises that if we draw near to him, he will draw near to us.
  6. If you develop a relationship with Jesus, you will not be so likely to feel lonely.
  7. Having a relationship with Jesus is the only way of being sure of eternal life.