Cigna released their U.S. Loneliness Survey this month and reported that loneliness among Americans has reached “epidemic levels.” Their survey of over 20,000 Americans found that nearly half reported sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent). The survey used a 20-item questionnaire that assesses subjective feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
The potential effects of loneliness on health are well established. A 2013 study on loneliness showed elevated levels of stress hormones and inflammation, which can increase the risk of heart disease, dementia, and Type 2 diabetes and suicide attempts.
Loneliness is prevalent in society. The rising numbers of single adults, the breakdown of the family and the loss of neighborhood and community have all contributed to an immense sense of loneliness in many people’s lives.
If you feel lonely remember God cares for you. He knows about loneliness. Jesus experienced the greatest loneliness of all when the Father forsook him on the cross. God knows and cares.
There’s always a purpose for everything God has you going through. Even when you wish you were in a great relationship right now but you are alone, God has an important reason for this.
1. To Teach You What Your Heart Needs Most
In Psalm 73:21-23, it states, “When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you.”
But then in Psalm 73:23-26 it states, “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
God made us to be in healthy relationships with other humans. But if we are not right with God first, none of these relationships will be healthy and satisfying. Through being alone, God teaches us that we need him first and foremost.
2. To Teach You that You Are Never Abandoned If You Remain with God
If you are not secure in God first, you will always be terrified of being abandoned by others. God is the only perfect love that never fails us. When we go to human love instead of to God’s love, deep down we are terrified because we know people will eventually let us down.
Through being alone with God, you gain an inner confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. As Psalm 73:27-28, “For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”
The only true safe place is in the presence of God.
3. To Teach You How to Pray
There’s power in group prayer. There’s impact when we intercede with the church. But at it’s root, prayer is meant to be deeply personal between you and God. Without a season of solitude with the Lord, you can’t learn how to really pray and connect with Jesus. As the Lord Christ in Matthew 6:5-6 said:
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
4. To Give You Time to Reflect on Relationship Mistakes
Without seasons of reflection, we are doomed to repeat our failures over and over again. As Psalm 139:23-24 explains, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
5. To Help You Lose Your Fear of Man and Find Your Fear of God
Without a season of solitude and extra focus on God, you will always be afraid of other people. But when you find a healthy, biblical fear of God, all other fears vanish. In Luke 12:4-7, Jesus taught us:
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
6. To Help You Trust Solely in God
Relationships are a blessing. Community is a blessing. Friendships are a treasure. But nowhere in the Bible are we told to trust in people. We are only commanded to trust in God.
As Psalm 108:12-13 states, “Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.”
7. To Help You Realize the Value of Relationships
Once your heart has been reestablished in the Lord through a season of being alone, God will then reawaken your desire to be in healthy relationships with other people. When Adam was alone, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).
Have you ever wondered why God didn’t just make Eve right from the start? He knew it would not be good for Adam to be alone, so why did he make him alone at first? Perhaps God wanted Adam to be alone so Adam would then value the woman as he should. Without the loneliness first, he may never have truly appreciated Eve.
8. To Help You Minister to Others
There will always be lonely people in this world because there will always be broken relationships due to sin. As Christians, God calls us to be ambassadors for him, calling people out of isolation and into the family of God. And through our own seasons of isolation, God is often equipping us to better serve those in similar situations.
As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 explains, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
9. To Prepare the Soil for Love to Grow
Those who jump from relationship to relationship are often never ready to actually thrive in a godly relationship. Ironically, one of the best ways to prepare the ground to build a relationship on is through being alone.
Before their wedding, the woman said to the man in Song of Solomon 2:15, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Before love can really grow, there needs to be a time of preparation.
10. To Prepare You for Building a Family with Another Person
Romance is not supposed to just end between a man and woman. Through their love in marriage, God desires them to create a family together. As God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it . . .” (Genesis 2:28).
But it takes time to develop into someone who is prepared raise a family, and through seasons of being alone, God is looking ahead to that future season where you will be creating a family with another person.