Bible Help to Overcome Loneliness!

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A friend told me recently, "I visited a lonely old lady just the other day. She was in a rest home, the victim of a stroke. For her, life had become bitter and frustrating. She complained because she felt her friends and family had almost deserted her. Nothing that was done for her was quite right. She felt all alone". Now this picture is not uncommon in these times. Even in areas of vast population, there are many people who are lonely. Perhaps at times, it is almost a certainty that you and I will experience this feeling of helplessness that we call loneliness.

Many years ago in the period of the Divided Kingdom of Israel, during the reign of King Ahab and his queen Jezebel, there lived a Godly man by the name of Elijah. Yet after Elijah fought against the evils of his day, and particularly after his contest on Mount Camel with the 450 false prophets of Baal, he felt that he must be all alone and he wanted to run away. He did so, and then he sat down in a cave and cried out, "I, even I only am left, and they seek my life to take it away" (I Kings 19:10). Now God's question to Elijah has meaning for us today. "What dost thou here, Elijah?" (I Kings 19:9). Of all people in the world, what are you doing here? The courageous prophet sulks alone in a cave, feeling sorry for himself and longing to die. His mood has changed from triumph to despair. Since loneliness is part of each person's experience, what are the cures for it? May I make these suggestions?

1. Realize that such times of loneliness are common to all people, but they should be temporary. The psalmist asked himself, "Why art thou cast down, oh my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me?". And then immediately he comes back with the answer, "Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance" (Psalm 42: 5).

2. Remember that God is always available to help you overcome loneliness. One of the verses that has helped me puts it this way, "But I trusted in thee, 0 Lord. I said, thou art my God, my times art in thy hands" (Psalms 31:14,15). If God is directing your life, you will not have any real cause to worry or be alarmed. "In nothing be anxious", wrote the Apostle Paul, "but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6,7).

3. Decide to get busy helping others. If Elijah had answered the question "What doest thou here?, he would have had to say, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing". That was why he had time to feel sorry for himself and be lonely. God involves us in good works to our great advantage. Help those who are sick or shut-in. Call a person on the phone to cheer him up. Mail a card of sunshine to a friend. You and I are in the world to serve, to live, to help, and when we are doing this we just don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves. That's the way God answers our problems of loneliness. Once, Sir Winfred Grenfall, a famous surgeon of England was asked what was his-most thrilling experience. He related an experience involving the invitation he received to deliver the graduating speech to four hundred nurses of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Just prior to the time of his graduation message, he learned that eight nurses were desperately needed in Labrador to work in his hospital. He decided to make a plea. "Yet all I have to offer", he told the graduates, "is clothes, room and board, and work. You will be giving one year of your lives for God". When Dr. Grenfall asked for volunteers there was a murmur that went up over the whole crowd. Then he raised his hand for silence and asked, "Are there eight of you who will give one year of your life to my Master?". A moment later about three fourths of that class of nurses stood up. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you did it unto one of these my brethren, even these last, you did it unto me". These suggestions will help overcome loneliness.

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