I have seen it throughout all my years as pastor – how difficult it is for people who are alone. No matter how many activities they fill their lives with, loneliness still catches up to them in their house or apartment when they come home. Someone might protest, “But I have God!” Well, so did Adam! God came to Adam every day, but it was still God who remarked that Adam was alone.
You and I are created to live close to other people. It is in our DNA. Did you know that dog owners live longer? Relationships motivate us and give our lives content and purpose.
We live in an era when our society is very closed. Loneliness becomes a sickness and sometimes our churches forget the people who are all alone. It’s easy to say, “But she must realize that she can’t just barge in on us when it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas!” Well, it might not be appropriate, but those are the times she feels the most alone.
There are many people out there who don’t need to be alone. Some pastors encourage singles to make a wish list, like a checklist of qualities they are looking for in a future husband or wife. There are many problems with that kind of list! One problem is when you don’t even meet up to your own demands. Another is if what you are asking for is not yours! You want this or that quality in your future spouse, but if God hasn’t given you a man or woman with those qualities, what do you do then?
I have a friend who is married now, finally, but his wish list was so long and detailed that when his match finally came into his life he didn’t even recognize her, he was so lost in his list of demands, so God had to tell him, “She’s standing right in front of you.”
Adam says of Eve that she was “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.” I believe that the one you are seeking is out there. It’s good to reflect over which qualities would match you best, but remember: God is the best matchmaker! “Bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh” means that you are truly one, you are soulmates. Only God can make a match that after several years becomes an inseparable unit. You think about the same things at the same time. A look from across the room is enough to understand what the other means.
It is written that “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” That is a promise to you. You will not want for anything, but the one who God knows matches you best might not always match your own list. If you pray instead, “Lord, give me the woman who is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” or if you are a woman, “Give me the man who I am one with, bone of bones and flesh of flesh,” then I believe that God will match what you are asking for. He knows what he is doing!
Besides, maybe you’re supposed to do something. “I pray,” you say. Yes, that’s good. The woman with the issue of blood prayed too, but if she hadn’t broken the law and gone to the town square, which she wasn’t allowed to do, when Jesus was there, then she would have died from her sickness. Take a step of faith. Do something! Yes, I know, it can take time. For a friend of mine it took 16 years, but eventually it turned out just right for him – but it took a step of faith. I don’t think it’s going to take that long for you; pray the prayer. Also, be sure to tell your lonely friends how they can pray about this, and encourage them to do something.
Being lonely causes so much suffering for so many people, and it’s something we don’t talk about very much. People are embarrassed to talk about it. Even if they didn’t turn up the last time you invited them to something, it still meant something that you asked! Sometimes lonely people are complicated, because they don’t want others to see that they are alone. Also, they are a bit uncertain because they can feel alone even when they are with other people. There are lonely people who say that they would rather be alone than feel alone among other people.
Jesus wants us to do everything we can to tear down the walls for the lonely.
Now I’m not talking about myself, so don’t read something between the lines that isn’t there. I am not alone in any way; besides, my church would never allow it.
But I’ve seen the loneliness of other people more clearly this past year, and that is why I am pointing it out today. We are created to live with other people, so do what you have in your heart to do, and above all, in prayer call upon the person whom God has matched you with. He or she is out there. And finally: When you are thinking about who to invite to your next party, don’t forget those who are alone! And when they come, make sure that they don’t feel alone even when among others.