25th May 2011

You Are Not Alone

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

We all, at some point in our lives, experience loneliness.  There are, however, differing levels of loneliness, ranging from being tired of one’s own company all the way down to a desolate sense of isolation.  The Sunday Times on May 25, 2010, described loneliness in Britain as reaching near epidemic proportions.  Elderly people can spend days without seeing another person; young mothers are marooned in apartments with small children; in fact anyone living on their own can become a victim of loneliness.  It does not stop there; some individuals can experience loneliness in their relationships, living with long silences and empty rooms for days on end.  Solitary confinement is an acknowledged form of torture for prisoners in some countries—loneliness should never be discounted.

The irony is that we live in an age of communication—swift, prompt and to the point.  We can email to the other side of the world and receive a response in seconds.  Texting on mobile phones is an ever-present constant in our society.  The technology of communication overtakes us.  As we carry out our daily lives, the mobile phone has become an essential appendage.  Compared to our ancestors we have radio, television, telephone, and access to communication has never been so prolific, yet people are acutely lonely.

The most important consideration for us to remember is that we have a promise from God Himself that He is with us—always.  Mathew 28:20 shows that God knows our human frailties and needs, and He has provided for them.  He is not a text or an email away—He is with you;  a presence in your life.  He is a friend, confidant, and trusted  soul-mate in the true sense of the word.  He is ready to listen to what you have to say and He wants to hear from you.  Sharing your fears and anxieties with a God you know loves you, eases burdens,.“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’ says 1Peter 5:7.

We are given advice on dealing with loneliness in the Bible.  Loneliness can make us inward-looking.  If we see only ourselves in the situation, we can become pre-occupied with self. Proverbs 18:1 warns, “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.”  It can be difficult, and requires courage, to smile at your neighbour for the first time, whether they live next door or work in the next office to you.  People can be suspicious of everything and everyone today.  Ask yourself the question, “How do I know that this person is not lonely too?”  Resolve to be friendly and look out for ways in which you can help your fellow man.  An outstretched hand is seldom rebuffed.  Becoming a good listener to the problems of other people is a wonderful way of forgetting your isolation.  Learn to be hospitable.  There is no requirement to be a cordon bleu chef—a warm welcome and a simple cup of tea often puts people at ease. 

Having experienced loneliness, you have a responsibility before your God to ensure that you do your part in ending the chronic isolation of others.  God does not ask you to be a busybody, but He does ask you to love your neighbour as yourself. Read in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Your Saviour Jesus Christ is also your neighbour’s Saviour, and it is to Him we will answer at the last day concerning how we deal with loneliness in ourselves and in others.  He will help you out of the prison of your seclusion—ask Him, He is very near.

Prayer
Thank you, Father, for your boundless love for us.  You are our greatest friend, laying down your life for us.  Help us to turn to you more often—especially when days seem dark and lonely.  Holy Spirit give us the courage to extend the love of Jesus to our fellow man and in so doing end the misery of loneliness.
Amen

Study by Irene Wilson

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