Day 2: Overcoming The Pain Of Loneliness - He Calls You Beloved

Day 2: Overcoming the Pain of Loneliness

“Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress” Psalm 25:16 (NLT)

Loneliness is more of an epidemic than ever before. It’s a condition which can reach dangerous levels, affecting your physical, emotional and mental health.

I know this all too well due to going through the pain of chronic loneliness during the many months following the end of my long-term marriage. During the first six months after my husband left, I faced the toxicity of loneliness day in and day out. An empty nest, working from home, and cold nights alone were taking their toll. My lack of desire to get out and be social because my confidence and happiness were broken, made things even worse. The silence echoing in the caverns of my empty heart was often the only sound I could hear.

Warmer weather finally rolled around and my daughters had planned a short cruise with their college friends for spring break. Out of love and concern for my well-being and to pull me out of my self-inflicted isolation, they encouraged me to fly to Florida and spend a day in the sun together before their ship departed. I longed for a break from life, if only for a couple days, so I jumped at the opportunity.

The first day was filled with laughter and smiles. The Florida sunshine warmed me from the inside out, improving my mood and temporarily thawing the cold hollowness in my soul. But the following morning when it was time for them to leave, a sense of heaviness came over me.

After a few hugs and well wishes, I watched the bus drive away and turned to walk back to the hotel, as sadness and loneliness unexpectedly engulfed me. I initially chocked it up to being envious they were going on a Caribbean cruise while I was stuck going home to the broken mess called my life. I soon realized it wasn’t envy but instead a crushing awareness of being completely, utterly alone.

I decided to go to the beach, which is normally my happy place, yet as I laid on the lounge chair, people-watching, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. No one else seemed to be alone on this beautiful sunny spring day. Only me. Couples walked by hand in hand, college spring breakers frolicked in the waves, families built sandcastles, husbands and wives engaged in conversation. All things which used to be part of my life. But now, it was just me and my chair.

Being alone was my permanent new normal, with no escape in view.

Fortunately, Scripture gives plenty of examples of normal people who shared these same painful feelings. In fact, all of the Psalms point to evidence that even King David felt lonely quite often. Yet his loneliness is exactly what drove him to lean into God.

In Psalm 25:16, for example, King David said, “Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress,” followed by verses 17-18 which say, “My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble.” This whole passage is actually a series of pleas for God’s help because David felt oppressed, depressed, troubled, unseen, and deserted by God and others. Painfully alone.

But instead of staying upset with God, his prayer takes a twist. I wonder if he paused, slumped his shoulders, and breathed a heavy sigh as he humbly uttered the words, “In you I take refuge. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.” (Psalm 25:20-21). Despite everything, King David leaned into the Lord instead of away from Him. Despite how alone he felt, he wanted to connect with God and held onto hope that He was there, even if no one else was.

You see, alone time can actually be a catalyst to grow our relationship with God rather than stifle it. Loneliness is God’s way of reminding us we were made for a personal relationship with him and he placed a deep longing in our hearts only he can satisfy.

Lord, I feel so alone right now. Hear my pleas; help me feel your nearness as you divinely work to bring the right people into my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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