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We all feel lonely at times.  Jesus understands loneliness too.

Jesus, at the worst moment of his life, was abandoned by the people he had poured his life into.  Jesus made it clear; while he was praying in Gethsemane, that he needed them: "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death."  He expressed exactly what he wanted from them: "Stay here and watch with me." (Mt 26:38).  But his three special friends fell asleep; not even one stayed awake.  Jesus sympathizes with you in your loneliness.  He knows what it feels like to be abandoned. (1)

JOURNAL

Think of a time that you felt lonely or isolated, like Jesus.   What were the circumstances?   Did you feel abandoned by God or others?   Why?

JESUS ESCAPED LONELINESS THROUGH PRAYER

Jesus didn't leave the garden feeling lonely.  He left the garden strengthened by the presence of His Father.  Jesus cried out for help.  God was present with Jesus in the garden and He answered Jesus' prayer (Luke 22:43).  Because God was with Him, Jesus was ready to face the hour at hand and give up his life for each of us (Matthew 26:45).  God's presence brought Jesus comfort and strength.  In strength Jesus said, "Not as I will, but as you will."  (Matthew 26:39)

Jesus turned loneliness into strength through prayer.  His prayers were fervent and persistent.  Jesus submitted his will to the will of God.  Jesus was strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in him.  Prayer enabled Jesus to face the road that was ahead. 

There will be times when we must enter our "Garden of Gethsemane."  These times will be filled with distress, sorrow, and loneliness.  In these times, we can find comfort and strength, provided that we spend them in prayer, and that we have a willing spirit to accept the Father's will.

PROMISE OF GOD'S PRESENCE

In the rawest edges of life, it's God, and God alone, who sustains you.  Others may desert you, but the Lord has promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) (1)

When we accept God's gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, we enter into a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  God Almighty becomes our Heavenly Father and He places His Holy Spirit within us, to guide us in His truth (John 14:16 and John 16:13).

YARN TOSS

Do this activity with a group of friends.  If you don't have any friends nearby, write your response to this activity in your journal.

Hold a ball of yarn and share how God has been by your side in times of loneliness.  Then, holding the end, toss the ball to another person.  The next person will share how God has been by their side in loneliness, then holding on to part of the yarn, toss the ball to another person.  By the time everyone has spoken, there will be a large web of yarn.

God is with us always.  As He walks belong side of us, He brings other people onto our path.  We are connected to other people.  Our lives cross paths and intertwine.  We share common experiences, hurts, and freedoms.  

JOURNAL

 List some names of people whose lives intersect with yours.  Pray for them this week that they will release loneliness from their lives.

DESIGNED FOR COMMUNITY

Why are you so reluctant to admit your need for another person?

In the book, Better Together by Rick Warren, he identifies 2 reasons…  

  • The first, individualism.  We admire independent, self-sufficient people who can get along by themselves.  Underneath, the sad truth is that those people are often lonely and insecure, with hurting hearts.  Why continue to build walls instead of bridges between each other?
  • The second reason, pride.  Many people feel that it is an admission of weakness to ask for help or express a need.  There is no shame in needing others — God wired us that way!  God wants us to depend on each other

From Better Together, Rick Warren says this about being in community with one another…

God intends us to experience life together.  When He created the world, He created humans for community.  It is not God's will to through life alone.  Even in the perfect, sinless world of Eden, God said, "it is not good for hte man to be alone."  (Genesis 2:18).  by God's design we have an innate need to be loved and to belong.

God hates loneliness.  when you cross the line of faith, you are adopted into His family and He interetwines your life with the lives of others.  "All of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it."  1 Corinthians 12:27

God calls the church, "the Body of Christ."  The parts of the human body are interconnected and interdependent.  Like the parts of the living body, it's impossible for believers to thrive without each other.  Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost, I don't need you?"  Or head telling foot, "you're fired; your job has been phased out?"  (1 Corinthians 12:21b, Message)

Admit your need for others.  "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love." (Romans 12:10a)  Remind yourself that we belong to each other and need each other.

GRIEF LETTER

Belonging to one another and needing others, involves being vulnerable with them.  It involves being an authentic, honest person.

Write a letter to a family member or friend about the loneliness that you have experienced as a result of ED.  Use your journaling from above to help framework this letter.  Use these questions to help you write the letter…

  1. Tell your family or friend about the loneliness that you have experienced past or present
  2. Why do you isolate yourself?  When?  Where?
  3. What can they do?  What helps?  What hurts?
  4. What do you want them to know about you?

Writing a letter of this nature is hard.   By stretching yourself in this way, you will become a stronger person.  It's okay to be scared about sharing your letter.  If you are not ready to share your letter with that person, hold on to it until you are.  Pray that God will give you the courage and strength to share when the time is right.  

GOD'S LOVE

The world's love is conditional.  Love is based on performance; you have to earn love.  Love is based on your feelings or emotions at the time; you can fall in and out of love.

God's love is unconditional.  You can't earn it.  It is always there, regardless of how you feel about God or how you treat Him. You are always loved.  By embracing God's love, you can understand that you are never alone.

From Passion Free: Leaving the Imprint of Christ by Dave Park…

"The love of God beckons you to come.  It does not send you away, it is not hard to find.  It calls out like a mother for a child.  Like an angel that proclaims the glory of God, it never ceases.  God calls out to you, "Come!"  His voice echoes across all that is, "Yes you, come closer, deeper in.  Sit upon my lap, let me look at you.  Let me hold you my child, I love you.  I love you.  I will always love you."

PRACTICAL STEPS TO RELEASE ISOLATION

Read the Challenge to Change for the topic of Releasing Isolation.  There you will find a practical activity that will encourage you to act on the truths we are learning.

Read the EAT Daily pages for the topic of Releasing Isolation.  There you will find Scripture verses to read every day this week based on the topic of control.


 

1 – Copyright 2001 by the author or Christianity Today International/Christian Bible Studies

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