Hope for the Lonely Heart
From Gospel Translations
There is no stage of life immune from the fear of loneliness. The nervous student fears loneliness due to a lack of the familiar. The single person fears a life of loneliness without a spouse. The new mother fears that no one will understand her struggles. The couple who has moved to a new city fears that they won’t find friends. Loneliness affects us all, and we often live in the fear that our loneliness will last the rest of our life.
When we choose to indulge our flesh and remain fearful about the possibility of future loneliness, we stand in rebellion against God. We are choosing to ignore the commands of Philippians 4 to “be anxious for nothing,” and choosing to ignore the new spirit God has given us, one that is “not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” (2 Timothy 1:7).
We must confront the truth that our fear is fed by our own disbelief and disobedience. A disbelief in the truths of Scripture and belief in the lies of the enemy. A disobedience that fails to trust in the promises of God and instead obeys the fears and feelings of our flesh. These are uncomfortable realities, but in order to pursue freedom from fear, we must identify and oppose the lies that cause us to live in fear.
The Lie That We Are Alone
The first lie we believe is that we are alone. When we are blinded by fear, it feels as though we are living life by ourselves. We feel isolated and unknown. We live based on our feelings, rather than what Scripture declares to be true — rather than what we know to be true.
If we seek to examine what is true in our life, we are able to see that God has graciously provided us with the church and with the indwelling of his Spirit to use as weapons in the battle against loneliness. We are able to turn to our friends, our mentors, our pastors, and to the members of our church who seek to encourage and edify us, because the body of believers safeguards us from the dangers of isolation. When we are actively involved in our church, through regular attendance, faithful service, and intentional discipleship, we will never be alone.
The Lord himself sees to it that his children are never left alone. Each member of the Trinity has been expressly promised to believers for all of eternity. It was God the Father who said, “For it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Jesus Christ promised to his disciples, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Christ also promised the Twelve the coming of the Holy Spirt: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth. . . . You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16–17).
There is no greater source of fulfillment and joy than that of the presence and company of the Lord. While God has given us the comfort of dwelling with our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who have been, are, and will always be the truest and most faithful Companion.
The Lie That God Is Not Enough
El Shaddai, one of the many names of God, is translated to mean “the God who is all-sufficient.” God, who cannot lie, has called himself the All-Sufficient One. He has declared himself to be enough in every way, lacking in nothing, and able to meet all of our needs.
When we ache with loneliness or are crippled by the fear of impending loneliness, we are living in the fear that God is not who he says he is. We are allowing ourselves to refute the truth that God is enough by fearing that he will not be sufficient for us. Whatever season of our life we find ourselves in, we will quickly fall into the fear of loneliness as long as we allow ourselves to doubt him as the one reliable source for all we need.
First John 4:18 states that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Christ has loved us with an everlasting and perfect love. He has saved us, he has surrounded us with the church, and he has promised his presence for eternity. For the Christian, the promises of God’s word are the well of great joy. When we can willingly trust and faithfully believe in these promises, we will then be able to experience the freedom, peace, and joy they bring to believers in any circumstance.
When we elevate our feelings of loneliness over these promises, we create and deepen the lonely despair for ourselves. We reject the joy of his presence and afflict ourselves with the pain of isolation. We can choose to believe that God is all-sufficient, as he says he is, or we can live our lives doubting he is all we need.