Photo by Katherine McBroom (LLB Photographer)
“I’m just so lonely,” I confessed to my husband the other day when he got home from work.
Let me preface this post by saying that my days are full. Emails, coffee dates, phone calls, texts, and caring for a little one fill up the hours. Yet, in the midst of it all, I’ve noticed a lingering loneliness that sits in my soul, often weighing it down. As a single woman, I longed for a husband, believing that my “knight in shining armor” would one day satisfy that ache for companionship that was knit into my being. Once I got married I quickly realized that my husband wouldn’t fulfill all of my needs because God didn’t create marriage to complete us, but to show us Christ and our need for the gospel. A few years later we had a surprise pregnancy with our son. Since I was a little girl I dreamed of one day being a mama, spending my days raising a little one while taking care of a home and a husband. We brought Nolan home last May and after the first few weeks of chaos that were filled with visitors and help, I was eventually left to care for him day in and day out…alone. Loneliness struck the cord of discontent in my heart once again. My days were full and busy taking care of our precious baby, but they were also plagued with the lingering loneliness that remained in my heart after all these years.
Loneliness is a human condition that we have all felt. One can be in a crowded room of people and still feel lonely. Since the beginning of time, God has made it clear that it is not good for man to be alone. After creating Adam, God then created Eve to be his helper. Genesis 2:24 tells us that they were “naked and were not ashamed.” They walked with God in the garden and enjoyed His continual, unbroken presence. It wasn’t until they sinned that they tried to hide from the presence of the Lord God. One consequence of their sin was being sent out of the garden of Eden. They were no longer able to enjoy God’s continual presence, for God, in His holiness and perfection, cannot dwell with sin. The sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3 swung open the door for loneliness to plague the heart of mankind. We still feel its ripple effects today.
Loneliness shows up in our souls through our longings. It deceives us into thinking that no one understands the circumstances of our lives, the struggles of our hearts, and the desires of our souls. It is a lie that the enemy uses to trick us into believing that we are alone. If left unnoticed and watered by isolation, it hedges us in with the thorns of solitude and clouds our vision from feeling God’s nearness and the joy of fellowship with other believers. However, as real and heavy as loneliness can feel, God’s promises tear down the thorns of solitude and wrap us up in truth, bandaging our wounds with the hope of Christ and mending our brokenness with the gospel. Deuteronomy 31:6 instructs our lonely hearts with this truth, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
God’s nearness is promised, but it is not always felt. Due to the fallenness of this world, sin and circumstances can muddle our view of God’s presence. We must train our minds to look to Jesus to fill the gap that is present in our souls and trust Him with our feelings of loneliness. There is a difference between the loneliness of the soul and the aloneness that is a result of this fallen world. Paul Matthies explained that “Loneliness is seeking to run from the presence of people and the pressures of life and to withdraw from reality, but aloneness is experiencing the reality of God’s presence, running into the hiding place, not so you can just escape, but so you can enjoy God’s presence.”
We were created to run to the Lord, our hiding place, to find shelter, hope, and companionship in times of darkness and suffering. The Psalmist described this in Psalm 32:7, “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” In this world, we need a Savior to rescue us from our feelings of loneliness that can often lie to us. When I sit at home with a baby most hours of the day, I need to run to the shelter of His Word and His promises instead of to my own feelings of defeat and discouragement. I also must learn to be vulnerable with the Lord and with others about how I am feeling. Vulnerability opens up the prison doors of our souls, and it lets the lie of loneliness out and the Comforter in to hold us.
No circumstance, no longing, no feeling can separate you from the love of Christ. It is His reckless, unfailing, perfect love that holds you together when you feel like no one understands or notices you. There is no husband, no child, no friend, and no thing that will fill the hole in your heart. Only Christ can meet your deepest needs. Don’t allow the lie of loneliness trip you up and steal your joy. Instead, let it be an arrow pointing you to Christ Who fills the gap and mends your soul. Let us join in with King David when he proclaimed in Psalm 73:28, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
Could it be that this loneliness that lingers in our hearts is meant to point us to the only One who can fill us and meet every need for companionship, joy, hope, and peace?
Let us look to Jesus, our Comforter, our Peace, and our Friend, and let us hide in the shelter of His presence, even when our feelings try to convince us that we are alone.
You are not alone. He is with you. And He is near. Tell your feelings of His faithfulness and run to His shelter.
hiding in His shelter,