Overcoming Loneliness

(modified from the book "Slaying the Giants in your Life" chapter 3 by David Jeremiah 2001 by David Jeremiah)

Introduction:

All of us at time have felt loneliness. It may because of separation from loved one or moving to a new place or situation. We can especially feel lonely in a crowd of people because we see other people enjoying themselves together but we are by ourselves. It can lead to various emotional, social and physical sickness.

How do we define loneliness? David Jeremiah in "Slaying the Giants in your Life" defines it this way. It is a sick feeling in the stomach that seltzer water (medicine for upset stomach) can not cure. It is an anxiety that does not come or go, but remains with you at all times and smothers you in the quiet of the night. It is is a sharp pang that jolts through you when you remember an old experience. It is a subtle stress that quietly wears you down and you  lack energy or enthusiasm. Above all, loneliness is a longing for completeness. What does the Bible say about this topic and how we can deal with loneliness? That is the purpose of this study.

Bible  Study of God's Word

As you go through this lesson, read the verses in the Bible to help you find the answers. Try reading the verses first in a Bible in your own language (Chinese) and then in an English version.

Note: If you would like to follow the Bible verse link, it would be good to "right click" on the Bible verse link and choose to open in new window  resized the window so that you can quickly go back and forth from this page to the verses. Try to write down your answers to these questions.

  1. Examples of people who felt lonely and misunderstood

King David

King David was chosen as God as a young man to become the future King of Israel. He was the most successful and well know of the kings. He was know as a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). God promised that one of his descendants would be the savior and eternal ruler of mankind. This was  and will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. (2 Samuel 7:11-16). David was also the author of many of the Psalms in the Old Testament. Let us look at two of these Psalm as David describes his feelings of loneliness.

Read Psalm 102:3-7 and Psalm 142:4.

  1. What is the theme of these Psalms? Knowing who David is, how can these verses be an encouragement when we feel lonely?

    Answer: As you read these Psalms written by King David we realize that even as great a faithful follow of God as David can at times feel distressed and unable to eat as a result of his feelings of loneliness. He feels no one cares about him. We know from the Bible that the feelings that David expressed in these verses did not last. This is an encouragement to know that great men and women in the Bible are just like us and are able to communicate their feelings to us. We really are not alone others have experienced these emotions.

Jeremiah

Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet. He was a faithful prophet of the Lord God who through his life warned his people Israel that God would judge them if they continued to disobey God. He lived to see the fulfillment of God's predictions as he watched Jerusalem the capital of Israel being concerned and destroyed and his people being taken away into a foreign country.

  1. Read Jeremiah 9:2. How would you describe his mood in this verse? (See also Jeremiah 20).

    Answer: Here we see another great servant of God who feels isolated because of his serve and obedience to God. He feels lonely for no one is listening to his message. Sometime when we are try to obey God and follow His ways we may feel we are different than others, that others do not believe and act the same as we do. We feel alienated from others around us but again we are not alone in feeling this way.

Apostle Paul

Paul was a great evangelist, teacher and started a number of churches throughout western Asia and southern Europe. He was used by God to write 13 books in the New Testament. If anyone could be called a faith servant of the Lord it would be Paul. At the end of his life he wrote his last book to a friend called Timothy. Read 2 Timothy 4:9-16.

  1. As you read these verses, how would you describe Paul's mood and feelings? What in his circumstances has prompted theses feelings? Is there anything we can learn from Paul's experience?

    Answer: Here is a great man of God who has helped a large number of people through out Asia and Europe to find the love people and joy that comes with being a part of the family of God, the church of God in theses area but now he feels the pain of being alone. He is feeling the pain of being a lonely servant of God; a lonely sufferer; a lonely senior, even a lonely single adult. He knows your pain and loneliness. In this loneliness you are not alone.

Jesus the Son of God

Do you think that Jesus ever felt lonely? One of the last things Jesus said before He died on the cross is interesting.

Read Matthew 27:45-49. (see also Matthew 26:36-75) Note: the cup in v. 39, 42 refers to the suffering he was to face as he is arrest and crucified.

  1. Why do you think that during the last few hours of His life on earth, in the unnatural darkness during the afternoon (the sixth to ninth hour of the day would be from noon to 3:00 p.m.) that Jesus felt the loneliness of being forsake, rejected by God his Father?

    Answer: This is the time when Jesus, our substitute, took our sin upon Himself and God the Father in His holy justice carried  out the judgment on His only Son that we deserve for our sin (1 Peter 2:24). God can not look on sin and in this moment in time when Jesus took our sin upon Himself, God turn away from Him.

     

  2. What other events in the final day of Jesus life would have intensified Jesus' alienation and loneliness?

    Answer: Jesus was rejected in may ways. His closest friends the disciples feel asleep in the garden when He asked them to pray for Him (Matthew 26:36-46). One of them Judas betrayed Him to the authorities which made it easier for them to arrest Him (Matthew 26:14-16; 47-50). After His arrest the other disciples deserted him and fled (Matthew 26:56). Peter denied know Him three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Just think of the loneliness Jesus felt at this time. He was the creator of all of mankind. He created us and came to die for us because of His love. When He came, He was rejected by us. Even His closest friends were not their to support Him when He needed them most.  Can our loneliness compare to what Jesus endured? He understands.

Summary thoughts:  To feel lonely is not a sin, but we sin when we begin to focus on it or let it control our lives and ruin our lives. It is a sin when we begin to ignore the Bibles answers to overcome these feelings. Let us look at the Bibles answers to give us freedom from being enslaved to feelings of loneliness. 

 

  1. Help for the Lonely

     

  2. Acknowledge the Reality of Your Loneliness

  1. What is common to the four great men of God we have studied above? How did they respond to their loneliness?

    Answer: these men we have studied all admitted that they felt lonely. They confessed this to God in prayer and to others as well. They did not hide their feelings. They accepted feelings as real and were not ashamed of them.

     

  2. How do you respond to feelings of loneliness? Have you ever expressed you feelings of loneliness to another person and they have not taken your feelings seriously or told you that you should not feel this way? Did this help you or how did you react? Does this give you an idea of how you should react to others who tell you they are lonely?

  1. Accept God's Provision for Your Loneliness

     

    1. Why did Jesus Christ come into the world and face the suffering and ultimate loneliness of the cross? See answer #4 above.

      Answer: We need to realize that only God can ultimately solve our problems including  our loneliness. When something is broken we consult the original manufacturer, and for human beings God is the Original Manufacturer for He created mankind in the beginning (Genesis chapters 1& 2). He created us with certain characteristic, and on these is that we have an emptiness only He can fill. Because of our rebellion and sin against God's standard has alienated us from God so that we do not know the fullness of a relationship with our Creator. To restore our relationship with God is why came to earth. It is why Jesus was willing to face the loneliness and rejection of the cross because of His love for you so that you do not need to feel lonely and rejected. He has done this so that your relationship with your creator can be restored so that you can have a relationship with Him.

       

    2. When we feel lonely we have a promise from God that we are not alone. What is that promise (John 1:12-13; 14:15-18)?

      Answer: God has promise that if we believe in the person and work of Christ Jesus on the cross for us then the Spirit of God lives in us and God has made us one of His children, we are a part of His family, our relationship with Him has been restored.

       

  2. Allow God's Word to Fill Your Mind and Heart

    In God's word there are many verses that can comfort you in your loneliness if you allow it to fill your mind.  Try memorizing some of these verses so they will become a part of your thinking process. Here are some of many verses to consider.

     

    1. Psalm 27:10

    2. Hebrews 13:5-6

    3. Romans 8:38-39

       

  3. Get Connected with Your Network of Christ Friends

    You may feel lonely because you are separated from your friends and family. If we have believed in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done for us then He has given us another family that can be found everywhere.

     

    1. What is that family (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 1:5;  1 John 1:7)?

      Answer: This family is the family of God. We were created by God to have a relationship with Him and others that He has created. As a believer, there is great comfort in the fact that God loves us and has chosen us to be adopted as one of His children (Ephesians 1:5). Thus all believers have been adopted into a common family with God as our Father. As Jesus said, He did not leave us as orphans (John 14:18-21). We are not complete until we are united in our relationship with God and with others who have become a part of His family again. We have many brothers and sister in this world. This relationship or fellowship (1 John 1:7) is incomplete without the unity of believers server one another through the spiritual gifts that God gives each one of us and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 12:4-13:13). 

       

    2. How does this benefit us in our loneliness (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)?

      Answer: We know that when we need help and support that we are not alone, we have God and other Christians brothers and sisters to share our burdens and trials and to strengthen us.

      Food for thought: Loneliness is a choice, not the isolated moments we all experience, but the lingering pervasive loneliness. You may think you do not know anybody, but how will anyone know about you if you do not make yourself known? To have a friend we need to be friendly - we need to take an interest in others (Proverbs 18:24 New King James version). When we feel lonely it can be hard to try to make friends but with a little effort God can provide you with friends that will help you with your loneliness.