I’ve recently become aware of the deep loneliness within me.
To try and get rid of it, I previously turned to unhealthy quick fixes. Keeping a hectic schedule, I tried looking to people to alleviate the loneliness. The sadness for lack of company would temporarily be shaken off – but it would invariably come back. Sometimes, I just felt like going to a corner to cry.
I’m sure some of you can relate. But I’d like to say that while you might feel lonely – you’re not alone. Here’s the thing: I realised that loneliness is not something meant to be ignored, brushed aside or rebuked. So don’t say something like, “I rebuke the feeling of loneliness.”
Loneliness is something everyone experiences at certain points – even Jesus.
The Bible is filled with many stories of ordinary men and women used extraordinarily by God simply because they yielded their lives to Him. They weren’t living for their own gains – but for something bigger than themselves.
In every season, I can always turn to a particular book and find a story to relate with. This time it was the book of Jeremiah, and I found great comfort reading his story.
As a young man, he was called by God to be the prophet to a rebellious and idolatrous nation. A good half of his messages were about judgment and warnings of disasters. He was unpopular among most of his countrymen, but remained courageous and steadfast as God’s mouthpiece.
And as I read some of things God commanded Jeremiah to do – as a lesson or message for Judah – I found some of them pretty crazy.
“Then the word of the Lord came to me: “You must not marry and have sons or daughters in this place.”” (Jeremiah 16:1-2)
Really? If Jeremiah wished to have a family of his own – which is certainly probable – that command was a tall order. It sounds simple enough, but the reality is Jeremiah wouldn’t be able to experience the joy of marriage. I know that I wouldn’t have found that a good place for me to be in.
It’s lonely at the top. There was no human being present who could understand what Jeremiah was feeling having to be God’s man.
He was acquainted with loneliness. On many tearful occasions, Jeremiah brought his pain and frustrations before God. Jeremiah found comfort in God’s promise to restore His nation. Though Jeremiah didn’t see this promise fulfilled in his lifetime, he could rest in faith, knowing God would act on all He promised.
It is perfectly fine to be honest about experiencing loneliness. The issue is what you do after being honest about it: Do you sink and wallow in hopelessness – or do you begin to look upwards towards God?
I chose to look towards Jesus. I continue to do so. He is the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53) who understands. In Jesus’ nail-pierced hands – held out for us – lie strength, peace and eternal life with Him.