Thursday, August 7, 2008

God's Answers To Life's Difficult Questions- Loneliness, Part 2

Loneliness, Part 2 (from Rick Warren's book- God's Answers to Life's Difficult Questions)
Yesterday we identified the causes of loneliness. Many of you that struggle with this already knew what some of the causes were! So what do you do about it when you are battling being all alone? Some people become workaholics and simply work, work, work. Others turn to material things and become shopaholics. Still others turn to sexual immorality and affairs to somehow fill the void. Here are a few suggestions for overcoming loneliness.

1. Utilize your time wisely. In other words, make the best of a bad situation. Look at what the Apostle Paul did in his response to loneliness in 2 Timothy 4:12-13, "I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When I was in Troas, I left my coat there with Carpus. So when you come, bring it to me, along with my books, particularly the ones written on parchment." He didn't mope and say, "I have planted all of these churches and traveled the world to share Christ and now I am being treated this way!" He made the best of his situation.
2. Minimize the hurt. Stop talking about how lonely you are and rehearsing it over and over again in your mind. Don't grow bitter as a result of your situation. Paul said in verse 16, "No one came to my support, but... may it not be held against them." Make a decision that you will not allow your sense of loneliness to cause you to be bitter, but let it cause you to be better.
3. Recognize God's presence. Paul said, "The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." (v. 17) Where is God when you are lonely? He is right there with you! Jesus said in John 14:18, "I will not leave you as orphans (or comfortless)." God said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) Remember, there is no place where God is not.
4. Empathize with other's needs. Instead of focusing on yourself, look out to other people. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:17 in response to his loneliness, "The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it." He never lost sight of his life's goal even at the end of his life: to help others and reach them with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Here are some questions to consider:
1. What was a lonely situation you faced in the past and how did you overcome it?
2. Think of one person in our church or your neighborhood that is battling loneliness and go out of your way to help them
and encourage them this week!