This article is part of the Preach the Gospel to Yourself Series. We know that phrases like “preach the gospel to yourself” are used so frequently in Christian circles that they can become Christian gobbly gook. You kind of get what it means, but don’t know how to actually do it. This series offers specific examples of applying the truth of the gospel to everyday circumstances. Don't miss the challenge steps at the end of each article! Read the other articles in this series here:
- “Preach the Gospel to Your Sin Struggles” by Lara d’Entremont
- “Preach the Gospel to Your Identity Crisis” by Kati Lynn Davis
- "Preach the Gospel to Your Anger" by Ashley Chesnut
- "Preach the Gospel to Your Insufficiencies" by Lauren Washer
For more help preaching the gospel to yourself, check out our Grounded in the Gospel Workbook.
Loneliness is Inevitable
Walking into Target in an effort to satisfy a longing, I passed a smiling young couple and felt envy grip my chest. It was Friday night, and most of my friends were at home with their husbands or out on a date. It felt unfair that my husband and I had opposite schedules during our newlywed years, causing us to miss out on much desired time together. I’d left the realm of singleness only to feel lonelier than before.
Some women long for a husband, and some feel lonely even as their husband sits three feet away. Others simply wish for a good friend or mentor to share life with. You might battle lonely feelings as you search for a church community. Loneliness looks different for everyone. But one thing is certain: whether happily married or single with no prospects, whether in a room full of friends or alone in your apartment, we all have seasons where we feel immensely alone.
Logging onto Facebook, a woman realizes some ladies from her church went to brunch and didn’t invite her. Many married women desperately desire the affection of their spouse while their husbands forsake them for pornography. Ponder the elderly widow and how she misses the man with whom she spent most of her life. In a broken world with broken hearts tainted by sin’s curse, deep, persistent feelings of loneliness are inevitable.
It seems our expectation of never experiencing lonesome heartache is an unwarranted expectation at best.
The First Experience of Loneliness
Loneliness entered the world the moment Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3). In an instant, the beautiful relationship she shared with her husband Adam was destroyed. More than that, the perfect communion they experienced with their Creator was shattered. Before, they walked with God in the cool of the day. Now, they hid from him in fear. Life would never be the same.
God’s response was a curse. He sent them out of the garden of Eden, but not without hope. One day, a Savior would come and restore all that was lost. The serpent-crusher would crush not only sin and death but also the loneliness we feel.
Man of Sorrows
Jesus must have been one of the loneliest humans to walk the earth. He was often misunderstood and nearly stoned (John 8:59; 10:31). His own brothers didn’t believe in him for a while (John 7:5). One of his disciples betrayed him, and the others couldn’t stay awake to pray on the night he would be taken into custody (Matt. 26:36–50). Let’s not forget those forty days and nights he spent in the wilderness experiencing temptation (Matt. 4:1–11). Or worst of all, when he was on the cross and the Father turned his face away, leaving Jesus to feel the full weight of the wrath you and I deserve (Matt. 27:46). Scripture calls him the “man of sorrows.”
"He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isa. 53:3)
Surely, if anyone understands loneliness, it’s our Lord Jesus Christ. And that means he understands our seasons of loneliness with an intimacy that only he can. This should be a comfort to us as we face the circumstances in life that leave us feeling isolated or abandoned.
Loneliness is a Gift
Our hearts easily cling to our circumstances instead of our Savior. Loneliness reminds us that this world and everything in it cannot satisfy our deepest longings. Even if you had the perfect marriage, amazing friends, a close-knit family, and the sweetest church community, you would still experience times of loneliness because you are not home with the Lord.
The Holy Spirit uses loneliness to direct our eyes toward the God who came down to rescue us and who will one day bring us into complete, unending, loneliness-destroying fellowship with him. In this way, loneliness is a gift.
While You Wait
Here is the gospel truth your loneliness longs for: this world is not our home, and our Bridegroom is coming for us.
"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'" (Rev. 21:2–4)
We are still waiting for that glorious day to arrive when we see him face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). Sometimes it feels like he will never come for us, but we must remind ourselves that he has promised he will not leave us alone as orphans. He has given us the Holy Spirit to remind us of this as we wait.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.… But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:18–19, 26)
We can choose today to believe this truth and trust in his promise that he is coming. One day, our lonesome, longing-filled hearts will find healing as we gaze into the eyes of our Savior.
Remember These Words
In the last fifteen verses of the Bible, Jesus reminds us three times that he is coming soon. It seems he wants us to hang on to these words. And hang on to them, we shall. As we wait for his return, may we allow the Holy Spirit to use our seasons of loneliness to shift our eyes to the heavens, where Jesus sits, waiting for the hour of his return.
"'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20)
Preach the Gospel to Yourself Challenge
- Questions to Ponder: When do you experience loneliness? What do you feel you are missing in your life at that time? Fight the lie that fixing that situation would lead to your satisfaction.
- Truth to Remember: The Holy Spirit uses loneliness to direct our eyes toward the God who came down to rescue us and who will one day bring us into complete, unending, loneliness-destroying fellowship with him. In this way, loneliness is a gift.
- Action to Take: Choose one of the passages in this article to memorize. Write it down and place it in a prominent place in your home. Consider asking a friend to memorize it with you. Take turns reciting it to each other.
Meet the Author
Brittany is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and mama to Theodore and three babies lost through miscarriage. She longs to encourage women to think and live biblically, making Christ their ultimate Treasure. You can find more of her writing at https://brittleeallen.com/ or follow her on Instagram @brittanyleeallen.