Theology Thursday: Understanding Loneliness

Posted on November 10, 2016  in  [ Theology & Ministry ]

“If God is real, why do I feel lonely?” This question has probably echoed in our minds on at least one occasion whether as a child or young adult. We can have a huge Facebook friend list, get snapchats all day long, Instagram rolling and be in a crowd and still have this inner sense of creeping emptiness. It may not be just a quick fix by being with other people, even friends. It was never God’s plan for us to feel this way and there are many biblical promises that help us at these times when we understand the very nature and character of God.

The solution to feelings of loneliness is connection. Not just proximity to others or communication with others, there is a feeling of connection that must be made. Most of us have attempted to fill this chasm of the soul with things we can control. But it will not be filled with social media, hanging out with people or even a “one night stand”. There is still an impending and suffocating loneliness that comes on us that affects our thoughts, our motivation and even our confidence in life. So what is the answer from a Christian worldview on loneliness? Does God really care if I am lonely in the midst of all the people in the world? Well, I am glad you asked!

Much of our feelings of loneliness have to do with identity more than proximity. We have all probably been in a crowd and felt lonely. So proximity may not be the answer. How about identity? For those who have surrendered the control and direction of their lives to Jesus Christ, there is an answer. Now the scope of this will not cover issues of sickness or depression which may require skilled assistance to overcome feelings of loneliness. However, we can pull back the dark blanket of loneliness in life by understanding some of the characteristics and the names of God.

First, there are two characteristics of God that I have found to address loneliness in my life. First, God is omnipresent- he is present everywhere, at all times. The very character of God is to be with you, not in physical form, but as the saturating presence only a living God could give. Read Psalm 139:7-12 in a Bible for more information about this. The second characteristic is that God is immutable- he never changes. We may feel that we failed God or he is mad at us for something we have done. However, the truth is that God could never love you more than he does right now. He is crazy about you! You are perfect in his sight and he is excited to see you wake up every morning. That will not change. Read James 1:17 and it will encourage you in God’s consistency.

In my personally lonely times, I have found solace in the names of God. This was a Hebrew tradition to assign what God did as well as who God was in a name. Jehovah Roi means the God who sees me. You can read about it in Genesis 16:13. God is not a God that forgets or neglects us. He really sees and feels what we are experiencing. The second, Jehovah Shammah, means God is there. You can read it in Ezekiel 48:35. If I know God sees me and I know he is with me; if I know he has not forgotten me and never will change then I can go to him, trust him, pray to him and never be alone again.

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Todd J. Forrest, MA

Todd Forrest has lived his whole life in ministry, growing up as a pastor’s and missionary’s son. He has been in active ministry since 1990, and continues to pastor today. He is a board member of Children of Promise International, caring for orphans in 12 countries. He and his wife, Debbie, have three children, two of which are GCU students.

Learn more about Todd J. Forrest, MA

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