Ever felt alone in the middle of a group experience? Ever been alone somewhere? Ever been alone somewhere and not felt lonely? What does alone mean to you? What does alone feel like to you? Do you realize how others feel about loneliness?
Let’s first frame this with the dictionary definitions:
- having no one else present; on one’s own:“she was alone that evening” · “he lives alone”
- without others’ help or participation; single-handed:“team members are more effective than individuals working alone”
- isolated and lonely:“she was terribly alone and exposed”
- sadness because one has no friends or company:“feelings of depression and loneliness”
- the fact of being without companions; solitariness:“the loneliness of a sailor’s life”
- (of a place) the quality of being unfrequented and remote; isolation:“the loneliness of the farm”
‘Loneliness and the feeling of being uncared for and unwanted are the greatest poverty.’ –Mother Theresa
This is a real problem! This is a real issue! This is a reality in this virtual world that is being created where people aren’t being social because of social networks. Do you stop when you see someone who is alone to learn about them? Do you stop when you see someone who in the midst of a crowd of people doesn’t seem to be connecting? Do you stop when you see someone who is new to the group or the company in order to help them connect and feel welcomed?
Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean loneliness. Are you a catalyst to ensure that people who are alone aren’t lonely?
Do you realize that we weren’t created to go through life alone? Do you realize that we were created to be in relationship first with God and second with one another? Do you realize that even when we read from God’s Word the top two commandments get summarized by Love God and Love one another? Do you realize the loneliness topic is even brought up in the beginning? Genesis? Genesis 2 speaks to it this way…
18The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” — Genesis 2:18
Today’s devotional speaks to this when it quotes Desmond Tutu…
‘The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms,’ writes Desmond Tutu. He continues, ‘We are made for complementarity. We are created for a delicate network of relationships, of interdependence with our fellow human beings… We belong in one family – God’s family, the human family… the greatest good is communal harmony.’
Today’s devotional adds to this in closing with…
God does not intend for you to be lonely and isolated. Loneliness has been described as ‘a homesickness for God’. God created you for community – calling you into relationship with him and with other human beings.
You are not alone, yet you may feel loneliness. Turn to God! Call out to Him! Turn back to Him and turn to His Word and read His promises and truth to know the truth for the truth will set you free! People may see you alone but because of your relationship with Jesus you are not lonely! But if we can’t tell where someone is at, shouldn’t we be people reaching out, embracing, and discipling the world around us? So see what is going on around you – even within group events…in some cases maybe even more so that they feel loneliness because amongst the crowd they feel alone.
The Answer to Loneliness
- A peaceful community … Psalm 120:1-7
- A ‘new’ community … Hebrews 8:1-13
God promised a new covenant that would be superior to the old one and founded on better promises. The writer goes back to the book of Jeremiah, and quotes 31:31–34.
What were these promises? They are fourfold:
God promises to implant his laws in your heart. This does not mean simply committing the law to memory (as per Deuteronomy 6:6–9). It means having a new heart, ‘I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts’ (Hebrews 8:10b).
He promises that the knowledge of God will be a matter of personal experience. ‘No longer will they teach their neighbours, or say to one another, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know me’ (v.11). It is possible for you to know God in the way that Jeremiah knew God: ‘They’ll all get to know me firsthand’ (v.11, MSG).
‘They will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest’ (v.11b). This was a fulfillment of the promise in the Old Testament that the promise would no longer be confined to Israel and Judah but would extend to all nations (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; 19:24).
‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more’ (Hebrews 8:12). For the Hebrews, the word ‘remembering’ meant more than mental effort; it carried with it the sense of doing something to the advantage or disadvantage of the person who remembered. If your sins are not remembered, it means that God is determined to forgive and that the ‘slate’ of your sins is ‘forever wiped clean’ (v.12, MSG). All this is possible because Jesus offered his life for you (v.13).
This new covenant is far superior and ‘has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and ageing will soon disappear’ (v.13).
The new covenant is the basis of the new community into which God calls you. This new covenant is the answer to loneliness. The covenant is with God’s people together and not solely with each individual person. The promises are all in the plural. You have the immense privilege of belonging to the new community of God’s people. You know God personally. Your sins are forgiven. The Holy Spirit has come to live within you and given you a new heart. You are never alone.
- A faithful community … Ezekiel 13:1-15:8