I think one of the greatest challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic is isolation and loneliness. The restrictions on gathering, the mandate to physically distance and the fear to catching the virus have kept people apart and physically alone for months. We have hopefully gained a new appreciation for connection with others.
Some are quite down as they experienced loneliness. To feel “lonely” means to be “affected with, characterized by or causing a depressing feeling of being alone.” It can be a response to a lack of sympathetic or friendly companionship.” Yet others seem to be coping quite well. Why the difference? There can be many factors – personality type; overall health; ongoing communication and support by others. Those who cope well are alone but not lonely.
How can we move towards this if we struggle with loneliness? Well, if you are a Christian you are actually never alone. When you received Christ, He spiritually enters into your life and lives in you. Here’s some examples.
Jesus - “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
Paul – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Moses – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave your nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Yet God’s presence does not insulate us from difficult “alone moments.” I think one of the saddest verses in the Bible is 2 Timothy 4:16 – “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.” The Apostle Paul is on trial for his life. No one came to support him during the trial. Yet he can amazingly write “May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” Though Paul lacked any human support, the Lord stood with Him and strengthened him through that trial.
So when we feel lonely, we need to turn to the One who will never leave or forsake us. We need to remember He knows what is going on. We need to fight our doubts about His presence with reminders like the verses above.
“Lord God, in this unusual isolating time, we may experienced more aloneness than usual. We may also feel lonely more often. In those times, may Your Spirit reminds us of Your presence and promises to never leave us. Help us to use this unique time to go deeper in knowing You. Then even if others abandon or forget about us, we will more readily say, “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me.” Thank you Lord for Your ongoing presence in us.”