Loneliness Displaced

” ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ ” (Matthew 28:20 )

God never intended human beings to live apart from one another in isolation.

Yet here we are, living in one of the most “connected” societies in human history, yet loneliness is so prevalent. There are many reasons for being lonely. Often the very social networks that connect our society are also the very networks that have been used to isolate us from one another. A frequent means of doing so is through social ostracism, public shame, and cyber bullying. Of course other factors such as the loss of family or someone close, disability, age, disease, poverty, discontent or depression can drive a person into a state of loneliness.

No matter the cause, its a terrible place to be.

In life, friendships grow from shared perspectives, concerns for one another, and a heart willing to take action in times of need.  Lasting friendships are transparent and honest, yet caring and compassionate in its delivery of truth. Friends enjoy time together, even if its not necessarily doing an activity together, sometimes its just being in proximity to one another.

But no matter how deep our human relationships might be, they’re rarely lasting. My  grandmother, in her nineties at the time, once commented to me how grateful she was for her living family as she had outlived her husband and all of her childhood friends. I remember thinking how hard that must have been for her. There was no one left in which to relive shared memories.

Jesus Christ, who loves us (John 3:16) and seeks after us (Rev 3:20) knows about loneliness and the cure for such. He told his disciples shortly before his crucifixion that they would abandon him during his greatest time of need. In that same passage, he also shared that he had overcome the world and that fellowship displaced loneliness because of his relationship with his Heavenly Father (John 16:32-33). Jesus recognized, as my grandmother did, that God is a constant force that can be counted on to push back the creeping shadows of loneliness.

It’s one thing to be alone, but it’s entirely different to be lonely. We can be surrounded by many people and yet experience a deep loneliness in our hearts and souls. I enjoy times of solitude, but I would never desire loneliness.

Responding to Christ’s love for us is often the first step towards overcoming loneliness. Inviting Christ into our lives makes us a new creation (1 Peter 1:3 ). God literally indwells us ( 1 Corinthians 6:19 ). We are no longer alone (Matthew 28:20). As we mature in our faith we learn what it is to “live life to the full” as Christ  always intended for us to do ( John 10:10 )!

Over the years I too have come to the realization that people may come and go, but Jesus will always be. After all, He is the cornerstone upon which the whole of our lives find eternal rest, peace, and fulfillment.

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