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On Loneliness…

April 4, 2014

BOAT

Loneliness is a funny thing. If I’m sitting at home on a Friday night eating pizza and watching Netflix, sure, loneliness makes sense. But what if I’m at church with some of my best friends, hanging out backstage before playing a set? Or perhaps I’m at the office, working with people with whom I enjoy spending time? Or maybe I’m a Disneyland, and… wait, never mind, I’m never lonely at Disneyland!

All these things – and more – have taken place over the last six months. Yet a profound sense of isolation pervades. After a while, my behavior begins to match the feeling; I start to isolate myself. Evenings spent watching silly movies with friends become tired nights in my living room. Laughter slowly turns to silence. I sit on the couch in my dark, quiet apartment, wondering why the pain is so intense, the hazy ocean of depression slowly beginning to spiral downward.

I can find reasons to justify the loneliness. Work troubles; relationship woes; overall tiredness…

And you know what? I’m in pretty good company.

David was lonely – Psalm 25:16, Psalm 102:7
David thought no one cared about him – Psalm 142:4
The lame man by the Sheep Gate pool had no one – John 5:7
Paul was deserted by everyone – 2 Timothy 4:16
David’s family abandoned him – Psalm 38:11
The psalmist’s wife and friends abandoned him – Psalm 88:18
Job… well, he was Job! Job 1:20-21

When I focus on those things, you know what I’m not focusing on? Everything else. Simple, right? If I’m only focusing on the things that enforce the perceived loneliness (yeah, perceived – we’ll get to that later), then what else would I be feeling? Joy? Satisfaction? An irresistible urge to giggle? Nope. I’m staring directly into the swirling sea and choosing to dive in headfirst.

But what if I’m not actually alone?

I have friends. Earth-shattering, I know. Do these people suddenly cease to be my friends when they’re not physically present? Then why do I suddenly feel like I have no friends?

I have a family. “Whoa, easy with the crazy-deep insights there, cowboy.” Are they all dead when I’m feeling depressed and alone?

The thing is, I’m not actually alone! Sure, I may be hanging out by myself, but I’m not isolated from the people I know and love. I’m not living in a post-apocalyptic world in which I’m the only survivor (okay, time to ease up on the Walking Dead viewing).

 

Ready for the loneliness knockout punch? I’m not even physically alone.

God was with Joshua – Deuteronomy 31:6
The Father was with the disciples – John 16:32-33
Jesus will not leave us – Hebrews 13:5
Jesus is with us FOREVER – Matthew 28: 20
God goes with us – Joshua 1:5
We can’t get away from the Father – Psalm 139
God is near us, and he hears us – Psalm 34:17-18
God is with us – Isaiah 41:10
God goes before, and goes with us – Deuteronomy 31:8
God goes with us, wherever we go – Joshua 1:9
So, turns out I’m not really alone after all, am I? Maybe I don’t always feel like I’m not… it’s quite hard for me to acknowledge Christ’s presence in my life these days. But, that doesn’t make the fact any less true. Christ is with me. He promises that. And I can take refuge in that promise.

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