Wednesday, August 6, 2008

God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions- Loneliness, Part 1

Question- How can I overcome loneliness?

Howard Hughes was proof that you can be rich and lonely. Marilyn Monroe showed us that you can be beautiful and all alone. We all know people that got married because of loneliness and divorced a few years later. Loneliness affects each of our lives in many ways. Have you ever wondered what causes us to be lonely? There are really 4 basic causes of loneliness.
1. Transitions of life- Death, Moving, New Job, Growing Older. All of these are transitions that can cause us to feel alone. An example of this is when the Apostle Paul was talking about his life transition in 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
2. Separation- Going away to college, Overseas with the military, career and so on. The Apostle Paul was experiencing this and he encouraged Timothy to come and see him quickly. (2 Timothy 4)
3. Opposition- When people are against you, this can cause a great sense of loneliness. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:14-16, "Alexander the metalworker did many harmful things against me. The Lord will punish him for what he did. 15 You also should be careful that he does not hurt you, because he fought strongly against our teaching. 16 The first time I defended myself, no one helped me; everyone left me. May they be forgiven." All of us have felt this way before!
4. Rejection- From a spouse, a friend, a child or co-worker. The closer that that person is to you the stronger the emotions of aloneness can be. Paul mentions in the scripture above that he was rejected by Alexander and it caused everyone to leave him.

Do you feel lonely today? As you have read through the 4 causes of loneliness, have you identified some area in your life that you need God to come close to today? The book of James tells us in chapter 4, "8 Come near to God, and God will come near to you. You sinners, clean sin out of your lives. You who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure. 9 Be sad, cry, and weep! Change your laughter into crying and your joy into sadness. 10 Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you." God comes close to those who humble themselves and acknowledge their need of him. Go ahead and pray today and turn your loneliness into aloneness with God.

Tomorrow's post will be part 2 and I will share 4 thoughts from Rick Warren's book and God's word about how to overcome loneliness.