This is a guest post from Nansy Abdel Malak who has guest posted on my blog before. Nansy is currently working as a teacher in Canada and, at the same time, finishing a Masters degree in Biblical Counseling. If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Whether in a crowd or alone, married or single, young or old – everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. It’s okay to admit it. I mean, who among us hasn’t felt this way before? It sounds so negative (and it feels that way sometimes!), but I am here to say that I believe loneliness is something positive that God uses to knock on our door.
It’s natural for us to want to fill the gap that loneliness creates. The question is, are we filling it with the RIGHT things? We pursue relationships, wealth, fame, busyness, shopping :) , etc. While these may help alleviate the feeling for a while, avoidance is not healthy. Deep down, we know that nothing can fill the void within us permanently, except the One who made us, as the quote above says.
Even Jesus felt lonely. All of His disciples left Him at a time when He needed them. They all ran away at His arrest and crucifixion, even His closest friends – Peter, James, and John – with whom He shared special things like His Holy Transfiguration, and took to the Garden of Gethsemane while He prayed.
Jesus reminds us that we NEVER really are alone because our Heavenly Father is with us, and will continue to pursue us. One of my favourite verses is when our Lord said:
“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet, I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32)
WOW! I don’t know about you but those words somehow make me feel good. Jesus really is like us after all! He does have feelings like we do and He can relate. In other words, I AM NOT ALONE!
So what did He do when He felt lonely? He did the same thing we should be doing: He looked up to heaven and relied on companionship with the Father more than any human or material object.
Look at what Moses said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:8:
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
This is a bit before Moses dies on Mount Nebo. Can you imagine how afraid the people must’ve been? Their leader, who has been with them for many years, is about to leave and put someone else in charge. Realizing this, Moses reminded the Israelites that it is God, not Moses or anyone else, who has led and will continue to lead them.
Believe me, the times I was most lonely were the biggest motivator for me to draw near to God and long for solitude with Him. I have had to learn this the hard way by being abandoned and betrayed by others, and only then realizing there is nothing like God’s presence to fill the gap in my heart.
We can’t control circumstances that make us feel lonely, but what we can do is take those feelings of loneliness to God and let Him fill the gap. King David and the psalm other writers exemplify this for us in Psalms (see Psalm 139:7-12 and Psalm 142:4-7).
Remember that loneliness is an OPPORTUNITY – it’s an opportunity to draw closer to God… to seek Him and desire His presence in every step we take. May our Lord help us to remember that “it is good for me to draw near to God” (Psalm 73:28) because even when all else fails - and I guarantee that it will - God always remains.
So choose solitude, not loneliness!
For discussion: what comforts and reminds you of God’s presence in times of loneliness?