Sometimes I feel lonely. What about you? I believe everyone struggles with a sense or feeling of loneliness from time to time. This deep, uneasy struggle for meaning may last for a day or two for some of us while others live with it day after day, never really escaping its drain on their energy and sense of purpose.
There are many reasons you may feel lonely; an unrequited love, loss of a job, illness, lack of meaningful relationships, or marital issues. The common denominator of these and other issues related to loneliness is that they touch a deep area of need in each of us; the belief that I have purpose and meaning, that I matter, I am loved and important.
The Psalms of David often give poignant insight into his inner struggles. Although he was in the very center of God’s will, Saul was relentless in his efforts to kill him. He suffered the disappointment of trusted friends who turned against him. In Psalm 142 we get a glimpse of the depth of David’s loneliness. I find what he said in verse 4 very moving,” I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me; refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.”
There are times when we can be with people and be lonely. There are also experiences when we are alone but not lonely at all. Being alone and being lonely can be two totally different things. The issue is whether or not we feel understood and cared for in that relationship. Good relationships require the work of purposeful communication; the willingness to talk about our feelings, wishes and desires and the disciplined attentiveness of deep listening.
I often feel lonely for God, feeling distant and out of touch with Him. In times like these I must live by faith and remember that, while I may feel God is silent, He is there and ready to hear me. When David experienced loneliness He turned to God, “ I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living…Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name…” (vs.5,7). God answered and restored David’s sense of meaning and purpose.
One more thing. Do you know someone who may be lonely today? Will you make the time to reach out to them? Will you try to really listen deeply to them? They may have been crying to God concerning their loneliness. Who knows but what you may be God’s answer to their prayer.