This morning I saw video on social media, posted by a woman who had recognised a deep social lack in our world today – meaningful conversation. So she got together a team of likeminded people who went out onto the street and set out some chairs in twos. Then they put up big signs saying “NEED TO CHAT? FREE LISTENING HERE”
What a lovely idea! Many people struggle with loneliness and long for someone to just take a little bit of time to listen.
Everyone seems to be so busy; we spend more time looking at our smart screens than we do at our loved ones’ faces. It’s little wonder then, that loneliness has become the modern epidemic that it has, and that people are resorting to setting up “Listening Stations” on the street.
But do you know what? If you are a Christian you have something far greater than this!
Loneliness Vs. Alone
It isn’t only people who live alone who are lonely and in turn, not everyone who is alone is lonely- the two are not the same thing.
Loneliness is a pervading feeling of sadness, often (but not always) as a result of abandonment or desertion, or a sense of having been abandoned/forsaken.
Alone, on the other hand simply means: “having no other persons present”
You can in a room full of people and still feel lonely.
Even if you don’t suffer from chronic (ongoing) loneliness nearly everyone experiences occasional little “stabs” of loneliness.
If you are struggling with loneliness today I want to remind you of two important things:
1) Jesus fully understands loneliness because he personally experienced everything you and I do and more, when he came to spend 33 years on this earth;
Fully God, yet fully man, He was despised, rejected, spat on, scoffed at, brutally beaten and crucified.
Isaiah 53:3 AMP tells us; “He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; And like One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.”
Jesus was tempted, just as we are, but He didn’t demand his rights, give in to despair or grumble and complain like I do when I feel ignored.
He knew that His Father was always close. He knew how vital it was to draw near God the Father. There are lots of accounts throughout the gospels, of Jesus going off alone to pray. In Luke’s gospel is the account of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, perhaps his “darkest” hour, humanly speaking. He poured out His heart to His Father, and God in His love and mercy sent an angel to minister to Jesus and strengthen Him. Luke 22:41-44
2) God is Always Close By
Of course human friendships are important – Jesus had friends too – but no human being can physically be with you 24/7 and neither would it be reasonable or healthy to expect that.
But The Lord can, and does stay close by us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s not one second that goes by that He is not with you. Isn’t that an incredible truth?
I love the way the Amplified Version translates Hebrews 13:5
“I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!”
And also Proverbs 18:24 “The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother.”
Nothing will induce your Heavenly Father to take His eye off you, even for a split second. He always has time for you. You are completely known and completely loved by your Father God.
His love has the ability to penetrate deep into your heart, dispelling loneliness.