Some assume that alone and lonely are interchangeable. I don’t see it that way.
You can be alone, but not be lonely.
You can be lonely, but not be alone.
Alone is a condition in which there are no other humans around or in agreement.
Loneliness is feeling alone while surrounded by people. Your heart and soul are barren, emptied of purpose. You feel forsaken and forgotten, and long for completeness in a relationship. Loneliness can be as deep and dark as the grave, although you’re alive.
You can be lonely even in situations that normally bring great comfort and friendship.
- work environment
- social group
Pangs of loneliness pierce the heart deeper when you expected companionship. We expect to be lonely in a crowd of strangers or people we don’t have a lot in common with. We don’t expect to be lonely in the midst of people of the same family, faith, or interests.
The cause of loneliness is different for each person.
PHSYICAL: A move to a new area. A new school or job. Health problems can keep you at home or in hospital. Not being able to serve others and not being served when needed are equally challenging during physical loneliness.
SPIRITUAL: A difference of spiritual beliefs or convictions sets people apart from the majority. Others withdraw from fellowship because of serious, unconfessed sin in lives of spiritual leaders or their friends. Jealousy of spiritual gifts and ministry breaks fellowship.
MENTAL: A false accusation or a betrayal wrongly pushes you out of favor. Sticks and stones break bones, but words break hearts. Gossip, talebearing, and slander spread soul disease and cause aching loneliness in Christians.
EMOTIONAL: Past or present trauma makes us unable to trust or confide in others. It’s easier to hide behind the walls that imprison our hearts.
The epitome of loneliness was the Crucifixion.
The Lord Jesus was forsaken by all.
- Heavenly Father
- earthly family
- government (Rome)
- people of His faith (Jews)
One week people are yelling “Hosanna in the Highest”, the next week He hears “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The Lord Jesus understands suffering and loneliness. He was alone in the desert for 40 days and night, but wasn’t lonely as He communed with His Father. He was surrounded by people during His crucifixion, but was lonely and forsaken. He suffered all these things as our High Priest so we could never accuse Him, “Well, you don’t understand!”
This is how He dealt with His loneliest moment on earth.
Jesus accepted His Father’s Will.
Ultimately, we must accept our own walk through the Refiner’s Fire of loneliness. We need to suffer alone, without being lonely.
Accept the situation instead of focusing on who caused the harm or failed to help. You might have to deal with these people later, but first accept that the Lord allowed the lonely situation.
My family was supportive during my cancer, but when the time came, I was on the surgeon’s table alone. I had to accept cancer as the tool the Lord was using to test and refine my faith. My family had their own trials in dealing with their reaction to my cancer, but we each walked our own journey and found our answers from the Lord.
His first reaction was to pray.
One of our first reactions to extreme circumstances can be to stop praying. Because He experienced the agony of being forsaken on the cross, He can pray for us with “groanings too deep for words.” He’s praying for us, we should pray to Him.
The topic of His prayer was forgiveness.
We need the boatloads of books and articles written on this subject. People, even Christians, can be mean and wicked. They have affairs. They steal from the church. They abuse. They gossip. We can’t erase the sins they committed against us, but we can wash the stain with forgiveness.
Forgiveness frees the heart to overcome loneliness and get involved in the lives of others again.
He ministered to others.
While hanging with nails through His hands and feet, He spoke of salvation to the thieves and one responded. Any situation is not unique to us. We can offer empathy and advice to others walking the same path. Loneliness can be helped through the fellowship of suffering.
Jesus asked WHY!
I’ve been told questioning the Lord is wrong. I disagree. If the Lord Jesus can cry out to the Father, “My GOD! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” so can we. We can ask the purpose of the trial, although the full purpose won’t be revealed until Heaven. Ask in faith and wait patiently for His answer to unfold.
I asked WHY when an Innocent Man was sentenced to eight years in prison.
He Walked in Resurrected Life
Just as Jesus rose from the dead, we can rise in newness of life after a time of loneliness.
Soul search the cause of your loneliness and ask the Lord for the wisdom to accept, pray, forgive, and minister your way through.
We accept the path that we must walk alone, but we don’t have to be lonely.