Connected to Loneliness - 25 April 2018

Louise Gevers

“Turn to me, LORD, and be merciful to me, because I am lonely and weak. Relieve me of my worries and save me from all my troubles.” Psalm 25:16-17

Whether we have a physical impediment; are bedridden; are far away from those we love; are misunderstood, undervalued, or rejected by those we care about (and those we don’t); are in pain, are afraid, or feel guilty, loneliness is a very real concern and carries, with it, anxiety and sadness, regardless of our age and who we are. When there’s give and take on both sides, we connect with others, but when this is absent, we may feel lonely even when we’re with others.

This wasn’t what God intended. He said, “‘it is not good for the man to live alone’” (Genesis 2:18) and by the very process that He used to create Eve from Adam, He showed that He intended them to be connected beings. He also said, “Be fruitful and increase in number.” Genesis 1:28, 9:7

Solomon observed, “Two are better than one …” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) keeping each other warm and defending themselves, because loneliness and weakness are often linked - much like troubles and worries. They feed off each other and make us become too aware of our needs and we convince ourselves of our inability to deal with them. We feel stronger and more resilient when we have others alongside us, especially when we sense we are out of our depth and that our circumstances could overwhelm us.

David’s prayer could be our prayer today. Even though he was the king and could have had anything he wanted, he was lonely and recognised that his help could not come from earthly things. He identified that something within him needed attention, which only God could deal with. His loneliness stemmed from being disconnected from God, which he acknowledged. He knew that God could turn the situation around and release him from his troubles, and pleaded, “Consider my distress and suffering and forgive all my sins.” (Psalm 25:18) It’s liberating to identify and acknowledge how we’re feeling, but even more restorative to pour out our problems to a sympathetic listener who can help us. Sometimes we need to pour out our sins, and God restores us completely.

Those who are connected to God and others seldom really feel lonely, but when they do, they can be sure that God has never left them, but hears their heart’s cry before their words.

Times of loneliness can actually be beneficial if we use them effectively to grow closer to God, just as David did. Our problems are actually not as important as the way we handle them, and we have the choice, which determines the outcome.

Prayer: “Teach me your ways, O LORD; make them known to me. Teach me to live according to your truth, for you are my God, who saves me. I always trust in you.” Amen (Psalm 25:4-5)

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