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How To Find True Joy In A Lonely World

Even surrounded by people, we can still be painfully lonely if our relationships fall out of alignment with God’s purpose for them in our lives. When we’re looking for others to fulfill our every need and comfort our every hurt, we are bound to be disappointed. And in my own lonely season, I was. But the wonderful thing about our Almighty God he is always with us – we are never alone, never apart from his unfailing love.

Seasons of loneliness leave us vulnerable – we begin placing our trust in things or people other than God. 

In one such lonely season of my life, I began to rely on the people around me more than the Father who placed them there. Suddenly, their opinions mattered the most to me. I began blindly following their advice, assuming my best interest was always at the center of their universe.

What the Bible Says about Loneliness God’s Word has such comforting, clear words for our loneliness. When we find ourselves in desperate hours of loneliness, whether dealt by our own hand or unfairly by the sinful world we live in, God promises to hear our cries. Sometimes, we just need to get quiet enough to hear His answers. Though our loneliness may leave us feeling isolated, it is through that time of silence God may choose to speak most audibly to us.

Hannah, whose story we read about in 1 Samuel, knew a thing or two about loneliness. Unable to bear children, being around friends and family was a constant reminder of what she lacked. Like many of us, she was not alone but felt lonely regardless. In addition, Penninnah, her husband’s other wife, teased her incessantly about her infertility. Loneliness can make us feel hopeless, just as Hannah felt. But in the midst 1 Samuel 1:11, is the word, ‘remember.’

Our God, the Commander of heavenly armies, remembers us. The NIV Study Bible Notes states, “To remember is more than simply to recap that Hannah existed. It is to go into action on her behalf.”

God surely did hear Hannah’s prayer. 1 Samuel 1:19b says, “…the Lord remember her.” Hannah conceived a child, and named him Samuel, because she asked the Lord for Him. (1 Samuel 1:20)
Why God Allows Us to Feel Lonely

In my season of loneliness, God isolated me even further to reset my scope of reality. There were some idols in my heart that needed to be torn down. Lies that could only be debunked, deleted, and replaced through time spent in search of God’s Truth. It was by no power of my own, but through Christ in me. His compassion to walk the earth and sacrifice His life for ours, gives us full access to the Father. The Holy Spirit resides in those who follow His feet, and that is where the power to pull out of a season of loneliness lies.

We can be authentic and raw with God when life’s rug is pulled out from underneath us. Whether we are lonely due to loss, failure, confusion, addition, divorce, abandonment, abuse, or any matter of confusion or mistreatment, we can hit the floor and unravel before Him. Life can be overwhelming, confusing, and unfair, but Psalm 91:11 assures us, “He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.” We are worth protecting.
How God Comforts Us in Our Loneliness

There are many seasons in life that can make us feel lonely outside of barrenness. We can feel lonely when we are single or married; friendless or popular; successful or stuck; healthy or chronically sick. Loneliness has a lot to do with our perspective, which can become miss-aligned when we feel alone or abandoned. Scripture provides us with ample reminders of God’s uninterrupted presence. Reading God’s Word in these circumstances can shift our demeanor from inward disdain to outward praise.

“O Lord, open his eyes so he may see,” the prophet Elijah prayed of his panicking servant in 2 Kings 6:17. The Aramean army was closing in on them, and his servant couldn’t see a solution. “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." When loneliness threatens to water seeds of fear and cut down branches of hope, we can rest assured that God remembers us.

After Hannah gave birth to Samuel, she prayed, “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” 1 Samuel 2:2. He is our Rock, “the unfailing source of security for His people” (NIV Study Bible Notes). He will never fail to remember us.

How to Find Joy 
I found my joy in the Lord, who remembered me. He not only heard me, but acted so many times on my behalf. His personal touch stunned me. In my season of loneliness, He isolated me so that I was able to remember Him. My Rock, who commands angel armies, gave me the strength I needed to clutch onto joy again. My Savior, who promises never to leave me, sustains me when I cannot hold myself together. My God, who promises a purpose for my life greater than I can imagine, continually restores my joy.

Our Almighty Father will pull us through every season of loneliness. If we’ll follow His lead, through the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us through Christ, I believe we will walk out of every lonely season stronger than we once were.

[written by Meg Bucher]