Thursday, January 12, 2023

Loneliness and the January blues!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash.

A while ago, I read the following comment in the ‘The Guardian’ newspaper - ‘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.

An investigation into loneliness in January 2020 showed 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.

Humans were not designed to be solitary creatures. We were designed to live in families, Psalm 68.6. Social interaction is 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 I agree with this statement.

God’s plan for human life 

At a fundamental level, you were created to have a relationship with God. When God gave Moses 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 by 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’.

To get to know anyone, you need to spend time with them. We all need to be alone with God to get to know Him. 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. 


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