You Are Not Alone
By Elisa Morgan
Loneliness is an epidemic today.
A recent survey found that almost half of all Americans feel alone. Forty-six percent feel lonely sometimes or always and 47% feel left out sometimes or always. Forty-three percent report feeling isolated from others, a lack companionship and say their relationships lack meaning. (1) The number of “friends” people report having today is “1” or none where twenty years ago, people could name on average 4 close connections. (2) Twenty-seven percent rarely or never feel like there are people who understand them. (3) The loneliness epidemic strikes generationally as a British University found that loneliness is especially prevalent among those under 25 and over 65. (4)
Add to this the reality that loneliness affects our health. “People with less meaningful connections experience disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, and more inflammation and higher levels of stress. Experts suggest that loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 30%, making it as risky as obesity…” (5)
All this is cause for serious concern!
But hold on. We’re not the first generation on this planet to experience the pain of alone. The Bible is filled with lonely hearts, crying out to God for comfort and care and intervention in their lonely world.
As a result, we face the pain of alone on multi-faceted levels. Some of us experience certain aspects more than others. Others may suffer a checkmark in every box. Where does the pain of alone enter your days?
Emotional Loneliness: No one really loves me. The feeling of being unloved.
Relational Loneliness: No one knows the real me. The experience of being unknown, or “missed” or doing life without relationship.
Vocational Loneliness: My life has no meaning. The concern of having little defined purpose in life.
Spiritual Loneliness: I feel so alone. The experience of being cut off from God.
Physical Loneliness: No one is around to share the load. The isolation of not having people to help.
Seasonal Loneliness: I feel rejected, unwanted. The experience of not being included or desired in various life circumstances.
Someone has suggested that loneliness is ultimately a kind of “homesickness” for God. The remedy for the pain of alone comes from embracing hope in three understandings.
First, we were never meant to be alone. When we realize we were made for companionship, we find our footing in the swirl of lonely. We’re not weird or wrong or somehow depraved for feeling lonely. Lonely is how we were created to feel when we are unhinged from connection.
Second, God offers a solution for the pain of alone by inviting us into relationship with Himself and with others. Even when our ancestral parents strayed and decided to take control of their days and nights, God continued to craft a solution by drawing them back to Himself by allowing them to sense their great separation from Him and therefore their great need to be reunited. He does the same with each and every one of us.
And third, God reminds us of His ongoing offering in our loneliness. He tenderly bends to hear our hurts and answers with affirmations from His heart.
When we cry, “No one really loves me,” He promises, “I will always love you.”
When we struggle, “No one knows the real me,” He responds with an unmatched perception of who we are, “I know you because I made you.”
When we worry, “My life has no meaning,” He underlines our purpose, “I know the plans I have for you.”
When we mourn, “I feel so alone,” He offers His presence, “I will not leave you alone, I will be with you.”
When we sigh, “I’m tired of doing everything alone,” He gives provision, “I will provide for you.”
When we confess, “I feel rejected and not wanted,” He presents perspective, “I will use all things for your good and My glory.”
God offers six affirmations in the various pains of our alone:
Simple, huh? But not simplistic. Instead, just the opposite. Coming to grips with our experiences of loneliness requires us to face the pain of alone. And coming out of loneliness’ disorienting grip on our hearts happens as we respond to our beckoning God, who woos us towards the solution He put in place long ago and applies ongoingly in our lives today.
Elisa Morgan is the author of You Are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include Christmas Changes Everything, When We Pray Like Jesus, The Beauty of Broken, and Hello, Beauty Full. Connect with Elisa @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.