What does the Bible say about loneliness? How are we to handle it? How does Jesus satisfy the lonely soul?
Think about Naomi, a heroine in the book of Ruth. She lost her husband, her two sons and one of her two daughters-in-law, in one fell swoop of tragedy. She lived in a foreign land, had fled starvation and gone through bankruptcy. Her only support was one widowed daughter-in-law, with good looks but no skills.
Consider Sarah, the mother of faith. In the book of Genesis, her husband had an affair with her maid, and they had a son. Sarah was barren, until she was ninety years old. She spent much of her life as a nomad, living in tents, with sheep, on the outskirts of Sodom and Gomorrah.
What about Deborah? Judges 4 tells us that she was a judge and a mother to Israel. We’re not sure if she was married, but we know she went to war. She was the first female politician, and she sat all day under a palm tree, mediating for the people.
In the New Testament, Matthew chapter 8, Peter’s mother-in-law was healed of a fever by Jesus, but how did she cope with the complaints of her daughter, when Peter was off changing the world, and his wife and kids were left at home to carry on with the fishing business he left behind?
These women had plenty to keep them busy. They were all heroines of scripture. But they were lonely. I guarantee it.
Think for a minute. What about Noah? It was a lonely job to build a huge ship in the middle of the desert. Moses? Forty years in the wilderness tending sheep, and forty more years in the wilderness, tending ungrateful Israelites. Consider David, who spent twenty years hiding in caves from jealous King Saul. King Solomon? He pined for the Queen of Sheba. Elijah? Chased by Jezebel and hid under a tree. John the Baptist? A voice crying in the wilderness. Saul of Tarsus? He had a thorn in his side, that just wouldn’t go away.
Even Jesus said, …the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head. (Luke 9:58b NLT)
Wait, what? Jesus was lonely too? Yes. He was.
Let’s stop right there. If Jesus, Himself, was lonely when He was here walking this earth, what does that tell us? The Word of God says that Jesus was tempted in all points, just as we are (Hebrews 4:15b). Which means that He experienced the pain of loneliness, just as we do.
Loneliness is a part of the fallen, human condition, and we are all experiencing it, at some level, all the time. Yes, we are lonely. We are lonely because we’ve lost loved ones, or careers, or our youth, or our health. We are lonely, in prisons, in hospitals, in nursing homes, in our own homes, in offices, in schools, in crowds, in families, in marriages and in isolation. We are lonely in our minds, in our hearts, in our bodies and in our souls.
There is a reason for our loneliness. And there is a cure.
Listen to what God says in the book of Hebrews about Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Jacob:
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT)
Adam and Eve were exiled from their original home. Adam’s body, and Eve’s body, fashioned by God from Adam’s flesh, were made of the dust of the ground. God’s Word says, And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 KJV)
Humankind were originally made from the very ground of paradise, and formed in the likeness of God, Himself. We were intended to live in eternal fellowship with God, to enjoy a completely fulfilling relationship with Him and with each other, never to grow old, or become sick, or die, in a perfect world. And we lost it.
Adam and Eve were created “naked.” Which is not a commentary on the fact that they didn’t have to wear clothes, but rather that the first thing they noticed after they had sinned was that they were missing something. It wasn’t the lack of clothing that made them “naked,” it was the fact that the glory of God no longer covered them. They had lost their covering. They had lost God’s favor. They were naked, and uncovered and vulnerable.
Abraham and Sarah agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Adam and Eve were exiled form their original home in paradise. You and I have a memory in our spirits and in our souls of another country. A better place. A heavenly homeland. It is not here, and it cannot be found here. It is elsewhere. It is another city, that God has prepared for us in eternity.
We are lonely, because we are missing someplace. We are lonely because we are longing for home, and this is not our home. We are foreigners and strangers on the earth. We are just passing through.
We are lonely because we are missing something. Our bodies were not originally designed to sicken, and age and die. We are missing the bodies that God designed for us. We are missing the covering of God’s glory. We are missing eternity.
We are lonely, because we are missing Someone. We were created for fellowship with God, face to face.
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (Genesis 3:8-9)
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am also known. (1 Corinthians 13:11-12 KJV)