Read Psalm 23:4
People have so many ways to connect with others these days.
We can call each other, send an email or text message, or even record a voice message in a greeting card. However, with all these options, it is estimated that over half of the population in America feels lonely. I would say we fear loneliness. It’s not the fear of physically being by ourselves that we necessarily feel, but the fear of being disconnected and unknown by our peers or family.
We want to be understood and valued. We try to involve ourselves in so many social activities so that we don’t feel alone. During the pandemic, our socialization was restricted and we may all have felt disconnected at times. Besides restrictions during the pandemic, others feel lonely when they lose a spouse or a loved one, or they struggle to connect to a certain group, or even in a crowd of people where they don’t feel known (anyone remember jr. high?). Loneliness is an emotion most everyone feels at some point throughout their lives. I daresay, even Jesus felt lonely.
Mark 14 records the events of Jesus’ anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed about the events leading up to His death. He asked His closest friends to stay alert and pray with Him and they didn’t. He probably felt alone in His struggle.
Can you relate?
I rarely had an opportunity to feel alone as I grew up. Having a twin sister is like having a built-in best friend. We did everything together. We shared the same friends and participated in the same activities. We were together all the time. Then, we decided to go to different colleges when we graduated from high school. We were going to be 8 hours away from each other. As I struggled to find my place and connect with new friends, I learned quickly to lean in to God’s promises.
In Psalm 23:4, the writer says, when he felt lonely and overwhelmed in his darkest season of life, he trusted that God was close to him and ready to offer protection and comfort:
“I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
Just knowing that God is close is comforting.
“Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you.” – James 4:8
When we endure hardships such as loneliness, we need to cling to this promise and not be afraid. God wants to be our comfort and connection. If you are struggling to feel connected, pray and ask God for His protection and comfort. Ask that the feeling of loneliness would not be overwhelming and that He would reveal ways to be connected to others in meaningful relationships. Perhaps God has brought you to this place of loneliness in order to draw you close to Himself.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9