There are times in one’s life where the reality of loneliness shows its face and sometimes lingers. Research identifies a variety of individuals at risk for loneliness. Some of them include young adults, mothers with young children, the elderly, and those working in certain careers. Whatever the specifics, the pangs of loneliness may seem to loom in your daily routines.
Loneliness in the Scriptures
Repeatedly in the Bible, God identifies with humanity and connects with the loneliness of beings. The natural occurrences of family changes, death, grief, community exile, and life transitions all lend themselves to its existence. Hence, the voice of God communicates clearly to those who face feelings of being abandoned, isolated, or without friendship or protection.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, God’s promise (via Moses) speaks profoundly to the nation of Israel as they are transitioning from one place to another:
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Consider the Apostle John
One specific Biblical figure that comes to mind when considering loneliness is John the apostle. Revelation 1: 9 states:
I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.
Imagine John fulfilling his life’s calling and then ostracized for doing so. All of a sudden, there is no place for John, his message, or anything else he has to contribute to a civilized society. He just isn’t banished to a traditional jail, but to a cave on an island with no inhabitants. Yes, it’s an island and John could probably hear the crash of the waves on the beach or the breeze that flowed throughout the day. Still, this is no paradise retreat with fruity drinks and lounge chairs. Instead, the island is known for being “without life” while having an abundance of rocks and little growth and vegetation. Furthermore, John is without human connection or communication.
God Provides Himself
And instead of loneliness taking over, something profound happens to John on that island. Revelation 1: 10 – 13 states:
It was the Lord’s Day, and I (John) was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.
God meets John right where he is. The bold apostle is not simply wasting away on that lonely island in defeat. The Lord, in his own way and timing, provides an outpouring from heaven that literally shifts the potentially gloomy atmosphere. John zeroes in on the Lord in worship and experiences the magnificent glory of God in an isolated place (Revelation 1:10). And what man rejects in John, God accepts and expands into even greater works (Revelation 1:11).
Reflection On Your Loneliness
Your journey may be leading you to a new town. Perhaps you are a military spouse adjusting to your partner’s deployment. You may be ending a long-term relationship or connection to a community group. Whatever the case, you may feel like you’re on your own island of Patmos – isolated and lonely. How could you ignite or refocus your faith amidst your suffering? What could God be trying to show you as you constantly turn to Him for comfort, guidance, and strength?
Stay tuned for the blog post, God’s Provision During Loneliness: Part Two —COMING SOON.