Years ago there was a popular song in Christian circles titled, I’ll Never Be Lonely Again. I played the song quite often on my daily radio programs and the song brought many replies, most of them positive. I like the melody and words of the song, yet I knew the song was a stretch. It meant well. I have been saved for over fifty years and have had to learn how to deal with lonely.
In concentration camps, prisons of all sorts, one form of punishment is to isolate the prisoner, for punishment, for torture, sometimes to force information to flow from a lonely heart or simply to cause insanity to progress a little faster. God Himself taught at the beginning that it is not good for man to be alone and He therefore made a woman, a good idea that we humans need to work on.
Some of the loneliest people I know are married, but effective communication is as far as Timbuktu. Two lonely people living under one roof is as common as an old shoe. Churches, even Mega-Churches, are filled with people wearing big smiles, but inside their mind and heart is aching for someone, not necessarily a wrong someone, just a human being that they can relate to safely. Hard to find. I know we can relate to Jesus, but in many situations people need another sinner saved by grace to help evaporate the fog of loneliness. Millions of people are so lonely that they pay good money for professionals to help them find someone. (I know several outstanding Christians who have had success with this, but I sure don’t recommend it).
Loneliness is a national gold mine for many predators of all sorts. I read about a man about 50 years ago who had married 16 women. He married them, took their money and would disappear. When the police finally caught up with him, they found him rather sub ordinary in looks and very deficient in social skills. When the women were asked, “How did Harry Marry win your affection and trust?” Each woman said in effect, “He was always complimenting me and saying nice things. He convinced me he really cared for me. I fell for it hook, line and sinker.”
Over time men and women acquainted with the troubles of life do learn to be aware of the fact that Jesus is near and accepting this is a great help in turning loneliness into spiritual growth. Jesus often spent time alone in serious prayer and outstanding Christians have often talked about their “Prayer closet.” I know a man in Virginia who spent hours in his barn actually praying. He was a firebrand for Jesus. Back in those days, Dewy Umberger was legend for Jesus Christ. When you are really in the spirit as was John during his time on the Isle of Patmos, some wonderful things can happen.
Most of us are not John and thus loneliness often takes its toll on us spiritually, socially and even mentally. One of the most outstanding women of the 20th Century wrote about this during a time of deep darkness in her soul. Her statement rings true for many who have suffered through what some theologians have called the dark night of the soul. It’s my belief that she was so on target that her statement scared many otherwise nice people into vitriolic attacks on her person, her character and her salvation. Her later years reminded me of the man Peter wrote about in 2 Peter 1:9 “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” It is possible to fall into the pit loneliness, so be careful with criticism toward some suffering child of God who is walking a path of which you know nothing, yet.
The woman of whom I speak, Agnes Bojaxhiu, who had traveled the world helping poor and lonely souls, said, “Loneliness is the leprosy of the modern world.”
Loneliness and leprosy are a good comparison. In leprosy the body is eaten away piece by rotting piece. Likewise loneliness eats away at the inside of a person, gradually but surely rotting away the spirit. Loneliness can cause doubt about yourself and even nagging, sometimes haunting, fears about God.
Christ knows about loneliness. That’s why He makes Himself available for us to come boldly to the throne of Grace, to find help and companionship in time of need. He also established the Church for people of faith to find the camaraderie of the saints. Camaraderie, that deep sense of oneness that people who have suffered similarly have such as a band of brothers during war time.
Here, yet again, is my favorite passage: Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
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