Friday, March 26, 2021

Lockdown Loneliness

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

I read the following comment in the ‘The Guardian’ newspaper quite a while ago - ‘The dilemma, I’m 22 years old and going into my fourth year in medical school. I have been using study to escape loneliness, insecurity and anxiety that arose from the stress of the course and my failure to establish friends’.

Another person wrote in The Telegraph, “‘Life looks good on the surface - so why are we all so lonely?  ‘But you can’t be lonely,’ a friend tells me crossly. ‘You’re out  every night.’ The backhanded compliment makes me laugh. But it also makes me sad. On paper, my life sounds glamorous. Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense than denying you feel hunger’” These are the comments of a high profile journalist who looks as if she is living the high life but most certainly doesn’t feel as if she is.

Please bear in mind that these statements were made before the COVID crisis hit us - how much more painful will life be for these people now.

A new national commission investigating loneliness in the UK, launched in January 2020, shows that a fifth of the population privately admits they are ‘always or often lonely’.  But two-thirds of those people would never confess to having a  problem in public. Here is the problem - loneliness is the devastating unseen result of the pressures and emptiness of modern life when people live devoid of real purpose and meaning.

We effectively have a silent epidemic affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Researchers now recognise that loneliness is a serious public health issue. Some studies argue that it is a bigger killer than cancer or heart disease.  And it increases the risk of premature death by 26  per cent, according to a 2015 study.  Feeling lonely is a  double whammy:  it hurts physically and emotionally  –  and we also feel social shame. (Some of this information was taken from Fortune Magazine).

Humans were not designed to be solitary creatures.  We were designed to live in families, Psalm 68.6, the Bible. The need to interact is deeply ingrained in our genetic code. Herbert  Van  Zeller, writer, sculpted and cartoonist (1905-1984), once said that ‘the soul hardly ever realises it,  but whether he is a believer or not,  his loneliness is really a homesickness for God’. I do not agree with all that Van Zellar stood for, but that’s an interesting perspective on loneliness and one that I would agree with.

God’s plan for human life 

At a fundamental level, you were created to have a relationship with God. When God gave Moses, the famous prophet, the 10 commandments, he said,  ‘And thou shalt love  --  the  Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul,  and with all thy might,’ Deut. 6. 5. When God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world, he came to experience loneliness. His loneliness was so extreme that few of us will ever experience it during our lifetime. He, Jesus, was despised and rejected of men. He was a man of sorrows. He came to earth to the people He had created, and they ignored Him and ultimately rejected Him. He was unrecognised, unappreciated and excluded. The truth is that God chose to experience the loneliness of this life so that you could enjoy His company forever and experience the genuine joy and happiness He gives.

For the Lord Jesus, the ultimate loneliness was when he died on the cross. This is described in Matthew  27 and Psalm  22. At this stage, He was not only forsaken by people but by God as He ‘put away sin by the sacrifice of himself’.

Loneliness can have some benefits - temporarily. 

Sometimes we need solitude and time alone to think. I know that having spent a lot of time on your own, you may not be keen on the idea, but ‘alone time’ frees you from the interruptions of others. To get to know anyone, you need to spend time with them. Believe it or not, we all need to be alone with God to get to know Him. In John chapter 3, we read of a man called Nicodemus. He made a point of getting alone with the Lord Jesus to ask Him questions and ponder the answers. This ‘alone time’ is good. It changed the way Nicodemus thought and was a major crossroads in his life. We need to take time to think about life, God, our future, the brevity of life. To reflect, to sort things out in our minds and to discover the truth. Have you ever sat down with a Bible and talked to God. You’ll be amazed how He answers you as you read His Word, the Bible. 


No comments

Blogger Template Created by pipdig