Rich Mullins on Loneliness

I ran across this old Rich Mullins quote in a sermon I wrote a couple of years ago. When Rich died he was single and had never married, although he had been engaged for awhile earlier in his life. He was definitely a solitary man in one sense, and I know that that was hard on him. I think it is part of the means by which he was able to channel so much emotion into his songwriting.  This quote spoke to me today:

“Even when I was engaged… I would often wonder why, even in those most intimate moments of our relationship, I would still feel really lonely. And it was just a few years ago that I finally realized that friendship is not a remedy for loneliness. Loneliness is a part of our experience and if we are looking for relief from loneliness in friendship, we are only going to frustrate the friendship.” RM

In his son “Peace” Rich calls us all “prisoners in these lonely hearts,” and I think he’s right on the money. Because, there is a part of the human experience which is solitary, and part of that solitary reality is broken. Part of what it means to be human being involves a certain amount of loneliness or isolation that simply feels off… nevertheless it’s very real. There is a piece of our relating to God, ourselves, others & all of creation that is still fractured…out of whack. We often suffer under that reality.

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Charlie

    Very true. I actually had some similar thoughts recently when I was alone in a hotel room on a business trip. I don’t like being away from my family, but realizing how natural that loneliness is made it easier to sleep.

  • Sunny Christian

    I think it is so important for single people who are lonely and who want to marry as a fix for that condition to realize that only God can cure our loneliness, and to get that fixed before marriage, or they will be greatly disappointed.