We live in a world with more than six billion people! With so many people, it’s astounding that anyone would ever feel alone. But even though we are surrounded by all these people, there are times when these feelings can go unnoticed. We can feel isolated, cut off from the concerns and compassion we need.
At some point in our lives, all of us have been by ourselves. Some of us have experienced a few empty hours; others have spent lots of time alone. For some people, these lonely times do not create a problem, but many see them as a threat. They see being by themselves as something harmful, an obstacle that blocks their way to happiness.
Loneliness is living under the impression that you don’t mean anything of significance to anyone else, and it is common to everyone. It’s feeling isolated, even though there are others around you. Loneliness can be an overpowering emotion, like the way you feel after someone close to you dies. However, loneliness does not result in the same state of mind every time it strikes because many things can cause it.
In the past, people were born, lived, and died in the same city and sometimes even in the same house. Families were large, and it wasn’t unusual to find three generations living under the same roof. There was seldom any time for loneliness.
Now, however, this is rare. Children leave their parents to go to university or work in another city or country. This can cause loneliness not only for themselves but also for their parents. The increasing number of divorces and separations also causes many to be left alone.
The phenomenon of loneliness can often be better seen in large cities. Even though surrounded by thousands, many find it difficult to establish relationships with people they don’t know or seek out relationships with others through community involvement.
Jesus Christ took advantage of his time alone and used the time to meditate and pray. We can see how he did this before he died in the Garden of Gethsemane and various other situations. Being alone is sometimes challenging.
By the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, God the Father demonstrated that you matter very much to him. He is concerned about what happens in your life and wants to give you peace, joy and hope.
God’s presence in our lives makes it possible for us to be alone without feeling abandoned. We can use our times of solitude to communicate with God in prayer and to read his promises in the Bible. We can reach out in love to others, sharing the strength and comfort God gives to us.
For stories and encouragement to help you when you feel lonely, consider downloading and/or ordering our booklet on loneliness, available at Lutheran Media – Messages of Hope. Go to www.messagesofhope.org.au/loneliness to download or order your free booklet/s.
Richard Fox is the director of Lutheran Media. Jodi Brook is Lutheran Media’s Ministry Development Manager.