04/01/2017 - How to Deal with Loneliness?
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me” 2 Tim 4:16.
I try to think about what the apostle Paul was feeling when he was in front of King Agrippa giving testimony about his faith in Jesus after he was accused of heresy and breaking the Jewish law. He was looking around to ask if some of his friends would testify in his favor, but he couldn’t see anybody. No one was there to support him. He was just surrounded by the hostile people who cried out against him.
Have you ever been in a situation like this? Well, not in front of a judge or a king, but in a time of trouble when you expected some or at least one of your friends to be around to share your loneliness and your struggle. How did you feel?
Some believe that only unmarried people are confronted with loneliness. Some others think that depression is a consequence of people with mental problems. The reality is that loneliness is not specific to just a certain group of people, but everybody is confronted in one way or another with this feeling. Sometimes you can feel alone being in the church, or at school, or even in the middle of your family. Was Jesus confronted with this problem? Remember two times when Jesus felt alone and abandoned not only by His closest disciples, but by God, His Father. In Gethsemane He was surrounded by His disciples when Judas and a large crowd came to arrest Him, “…all the disciples deserted him and fled “ Matt 26:56. Also on the cross, Jesus was confronted with one of the most terrible crises of loneliness, and as a result of this awful pain, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt 27:46. Elijah, Jonah, Moses were also confronted with the psychological complex of loneliness and many others. How do you deal with loneliness? Here are some practical ideas:
1. Do what Jesus and other people of faith did in moments like this, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” Prov 3:5. God is never far from those with a broken heart (see Isaiah 57:15).
2. Don’t stay alone and be consumed by your loneliness. Go out, go in the middle of people, and socialize with them in spite of the tendency to isolate yourself.
3. Try to help others by becoming a volunteer in a place where you can make a difference in others’ lives. Last week I met an old lady on a hallway of a hospital. She was so proud to have a badge that said, “VOLUNTEER.” I asked her why she volunteered. She answered me, “Because I like it and this kind of activity, helping others, makes me happy.”
“At my first defense, no one came to my support... But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” 2 Tim 4:16-17.