I think if the question were asked, “What are the bad feelings that none of us want to feel” I believe loneliness would be somewhere at the top of the list. These “bad feelings” often get misunderstood and are thought to be only negative, or destructive to us. Truth is, God is behind more of these feelings than we may think.
Think about loneliness for a moment, what are some of the things it motivates you to do? When we get lonely we start calling up friends, looking for something fun to do, sit down to watch some TV or a movie, or grab a good book. No matter what it is we do, we just don’t want to feel lonely any longer. Fact is, God uses loneliness to draw us closer to Him, but we often times fail to see it. We think there is just no way God could ever use such a feeling to try to get our attention. But He does.
How a person handles themself while lonely speaks volumes of their character. I’ve never heard of a satisfied house wife cheating on her husband, or a satisfied young person committing suicide. It’s loneliness that drives a person mad; or is it really just giving us the time to self reflect and discover who we truly are inside? Sure, we can turn up the music to try and drown out the voice, but it’s still speaking. Our hearts are longing for a deeper relationship with God, but we’re just confused. We’ve so disparately tried to fill up every moment with stuff so that we never have to be alone with our thoughts.
Understanding how to deal with these thoughts, and no longer having to shut them out is the true key to happiness, joy, and peace.
We are conditioned to believe that God would never want us to be lonely, or struggle, or worst of all, hurt. We are conditioned to believe that when we’re lonely, our “idle minds are the Devil’s playground”. This misconception opens us up to all sorts of other misunderstandings. Such as, “maybe I’m lonely right now because I’m not busy enough for God. Or maybe I’ve somehow displeased Him and He’s left me and will not return until I make things right.”
These thoughts are all products of a poor understanding of loneliness.
Loneliness, the Gift from God
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV).
I wonder if “waiting on the Lord” ever produced any loneliness in the heart of man? Even King David said, “When though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Sounds like to me loneliness was something this king was very familiar with.
His adolescent days were spent all alone out in the fields watching over his father’s sheep. No friends, no family, or entertainment to keep him occupied. It was just him, God, the sheep, and his worship. It was the burning desire to worship that kept him fulfilled. And loneliness was the gift God that gave to David to help him find that place of worship, and ultimately, would shape and mold him into a king that would later be called, “The apple of God’s eye”.
Maybe it’s time we stop running from loneliness and start embracing the gift God that God is trying to give us.