Loneliness is one of life’s most painful experiences, it is an isolation that seems as though it will go on forever. Humans are relational beings, we crave companionship, support, and comfort. In the absence of this companionship, even life itself can be very discouraging. Someone had once said that loneliness is one of the most universal sources of human suffering there is. Perhaps you have experienced the orphan-hood of loneliness. For millions in our world today it is almost a permanent condition. This condition is no respecter of persons. No matter what class you’re from, what color or creed, how much money you have, or your age – it doesn’t matter, we all experience the suffering of loneliness. It hits everyone at some time within their life, and for a sad few people it hits them their entire life. It is a painful awareness, to realize that you’re alone, to realize that in your life there is a lack of meaningful contact with other human beings. At some point, we all have probably dealt with lonely feelings of isolation.
It’s especially difficult when you’re going through a trying situation and there is no one there. All the while the loneliness keeps getting louder when you’re spending your days alone with your thoughts, your discouragements, and having no one to share them with. Many feel empty, they feel the sadness of their loneliness, they feel discouragement, and inevitably there is a feeling of isolation. Throughout history numerous singers have belted out tunes of being alone, or lonely. The former R&B singer songwriter Al Green in the song Tired of Being Alone expresses the painful feelings of being alone, and recently the English crooner Sam Smith released an album entitled The Lonely Hour.
I’m not speaking of solitude. Solitude is something that is voluntarily, where you may withdraw from the crowd at times, it can be very refreshing, very beneficial. However, I am speaking of loneliness, something that is involuntary, something that comes upon people, something that is not chosen, and it brings great pain, great frustration and great distress. Perhaps the greatest anxiety of all for many people, they feel left out, they feel rejected, the desire to be wanted and to feel needed even when surrounded by many people even within their own family, friends, they can feel unwanted at times – and there comes, within their very soul and being, this feeling of hopelessness that drives them to find companionship of any kind.
Consider if you will the life of Jesus. Although He was constantly, physically surrounded by people, even with all the crowds around Him, He was often physically alone. Then in the most crucial hour of His earthly life, once again he had been orphaned, left physically alone, abandoned by those closest to Him. At some point, we all have, or will have to deal with feelings of isolation. For all of us, there will be times when we feel alone or when others are unable or unwilling to help making it especially difficult when we’re going through a trying situation and there is no one there. But dwelling on your situation or others’ wrongs against you will only lead you to resentment and self-pity.
Just as Jesus did you can and will experience the orphan-hood of loneliness which is why He says in John 14:18 “’I will not leave you (comfortless) orphaned’. But we can feel like orphans, can’t we? What is an orphan? An orphan is a person, that at some time in their life has known a father and a mother, perhaps a nice home of love, friendship, and togetherness, but somehow they lost that love, they have experienced having it and now it is gone, and they are experiencing the feeling of abandonment and desolation that orphan-hood brings.
The Apostle Paul knew all too well the pain of loneliness. After many years of faithful service to the Lord, the apostle found himself in a cold, dark Roman prison. His last letter to Timothy gives us a glimpse of his conditions, priorities, and attitude during the final days of his earthly life. Although he had continually given himself in service to others, at the end of his life, Paul was lonely; only Luke was with him – 2 Timothy 4:9-16. Demas, one of his former companions, had deserted him, and others had moved on to various places. Sadly, at his first defense before the Roman court, Paul says, “No one supported me, but all deserted me” 2 Timothy 4:16.
Despite being abandoned, Paul did not hold a grudge. When no one supported him at his trial, he said, “May it not be counted against them” 2 Timothy 4:16. He wasn’t even bitter toward God because of his lonely situation. It would serve us all well if we would learn as the apostle Paul did in 2 Corinthian 12:9. The Apostle Paul learned that the times of his weakness were God’s invitations to dependence on Him. If you will seek the Lord relying on the truth of His Word, you too will discover the comfort and strength of His presence empowering you to endure loneliness finish the work God has just for you.