Ministry Resources

Surviving Loneliness

Emptiness. Even the word conveys a feeling of sadness. Death, divorce, illness, sudden calamity—all of these things and more can usher in the very convincing feeling of being frighteningly alone. Alone in the sense of not having anyone to whom you can turn. Not just alone, but terribly lonely.

A profound sense of loss accompanies the ache of loneliness. It can breed horrible self-depreciation. Desperation and fear go hand in hand with seclusion. Life keeps moving, yet you feel left out and somehow set apart. How does a person survive such uninvited solitude?

Working your way out of loneliness could be likened to working your way out of a dark hole that is miles deep. There is no glimmer of sunlight, so you lose your footing. There are no rails, so to what do you cling?

Psalm 68:6 NIV says, “God sets the lonely in families … ” Perhaps you feel you have no family. Well, God has a family and He invites you to be a part of it. He invites you to be His child and share in His inheritance! And notice that He doesn’t say you have to work hard to get there. He sets you there…out of that hole.

“Where would I find such a family?” you may ask. The problem is not in finding a family. The problem is in how we view ourselves and others. When we are in the throes of despair, let’s face it, we feel less than desirable. “Who would want me?” seems to be a more honest question. Or, if you are one of the many who have been hurt or disillusioned by the church people you think of as God’s family, you may feel more like saying, “I’d rather be lonely.”

Luke 6:38 NIV says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Let me ask you, friend, “What are you giving?” Perhaps you feel you have nothing to give. That is not true. You at least have time to give. The gift of your time could change someone’s life. A visit to a lonely shut-in would be a great gift of love. A meal to a busy single mom or dad would be appreciated deeply. A visit to a homeless shelter, assistance to victims of domestic violence, talking with a lonely prisoner, or how about just calling that one person you have been avoiding with whom you really need to make things right?

All these things are ways of giving. Choose one, or two, or ten. And as you give, remember to give with great measure. The same measure will be given back to you. As you pour yourself out into the lives of others, loneliness will be only a distant memory.

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