A man contacted me and asked “loneliness is an affliction too?” Indeed it can be. Many people are lonely and suffer. The “feeling” and mind set of isolation, separation, a feeling of being unwanted, it’s possible to feel alone even in the midst of a crowd. The state of mind or a feeling of estranged, left out. The desire for some human companionship, someone to talk to, listen to, the interaction of another human being to share life with.

For some elderly people, it is possible from when they rise in the morning until they go to bed in the evening, they may not see another human being. They have their schedule for the day they do, and sitting on front of a tv in the evening, is the closest they get to another human being, and finally bed time and off they go only to repeat the same schedule the day after and the day after and the “loneliness” heightens. Indeed they may even know many people and should they die, they may have many who “feel” they should stop what they are doing, re arrange their work schedule, perhaps drive a distance to “show their respects.”

Afterwards, they may share some stories of the one who has passed into eternity, and finally they head off home having taken time to go to the funeral. But in many cases, as kind and well-meaning as it is, why does it take a death, for us to rearrange our schedules and go see a corpse who does not know we are there? For they are not! The flowers perhaps bought and brought to give to them cannot be appreciated for they are not there. What if we determined not to wait till someone died whom we know to re arrange schedules, bought flowers and visited them.

I know of some, who how delighted they were to have a visit, smiles beaming, just to have another human being to interact with. But loneliness is not just affecting the elderly but indeed all ages at times can feel lonely and have a desire to be accepted and not rejected. Loneliness is the absence of emotional connection. And it doesn’t have to be someone living by themselves in a little house, apartment, even a big old place. It’s the absent of a connection, a human connection, a human touch. Someone to share your thoughts, troubles, laughs with. God has made us not for isolation but for social interaction. It is possible to be in a large city and yet lonely. A Friend of mind, a top football player in England lived in London and for two years, he said he was the loneliest man in the city. Surrounded by people, yet alone. The absence of emotional connection. It can happen in a marriage. It can happen in a family. We need to be proactive. For the follower of Christ there are approx 50 positive “one another’s” in the New Testament, and what we are to be to others. We need to seek them out to serve them through preferring them.

There is a famous festival in Ireland held once a year, where young ladies from each county and indeed different parts of the world with Irish heritage, gather in Tralee, County Kerry and compete for the prize of becoming “The Rose of Tralee.” They are interviewed, and it is very light hearted, at times so funny, they may sing, dance share a poem as their “party piece.” I heard the “Galway Rose,” at the 2015 “Rose of Tralee,” speak. She had spent two years on a college program working with people living in isolated areas, lonely people, and her take was as the host of the program suggested, no one person living by themselves in a house out in a field, on a farm perhaps, their loneliness they often suffered through the absence of emotional interaction. She suggested if you knew someone who was alone, to drop in and see them and have a cup of tea. The having the cup of tea is not for tea sake, but it’s a way to say, we will sit a while and chat…

Loneliness is painful, but it is not the master. Jesus is! Perhaps it’s not you who is lonely, but if not, then you have ways to seek to come alongside someone who is. Below are some, I hope practical ways to help the lonely

Loneliness, perhaps YOU ARE not there, but you can be God’s means of Help to the lonely,

Some ways to encourage, comfort and build them up are…

  1. – You can offer HOSPITALITY to those who need companionship .”Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.”- {1 Peter 4:9.} Do you know anyone who is single, or an elderly person who is “alone?” Can you open your HEART and offer your HOME and give them a warm welcome and make a place for them? “God makes a home for the lonely.”- {Psalm 68:6;}. Seek to serve those who may not have anyone. An open heart will mean an open home.
  2. – You can offer EMPATHY, by putting yourself in their place and owning it as your own. Identify with them. They are not a “project,” or a “ministry opportunity,” but a person whom Jesus Christ died for. Perhaps they cannot come to where you are for whatever reason but you can offer to come and spend time with them. You can converse with them and allow them to speak, as they have much to say having no one to speak to for so long.

Hebrews 4:15-16, says He “empathizes” which means He feels the very feelings they feel. He understands, He knows, they are not so alone that no one understands. The Lord knows. The Lord cares for them {1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22; Heb 13:5; Matt 6:6}. Seek to encourage them with His Word, look for opportunities to speak of Him and if they know Him, ask them to share with you their observations and lessons they have or are learning from Him. Perhaps they could read the above verses. Let them read these verses and know, they are not alone. Seek to encourage them with the Scriptures. Perhaps they can listen to the Word if they feel too tired to read. Perhaps you could ask if you could read the Scriptures to them. Seek to encourage them with the Scriptures to use His Word to strengthen them in such times…to focus on Who they are “In Christ” what they have “In Christ” and to seek to reach out to serve others for Christ, realizing the “feelings of loneliness” do not negate the Fact- The LORD is NEAR! They are never alone.-{Heb 13:5}.

  1. They have the STRENGTH to choose to LIVE BY FAITH and NOT by feelings as the authority for how they and you live. BE IN IT WITH THEM. Not speaking down to them, but coming alongside to gently encourage them and reminding each other of His Word.-{2 Cor 5:7}.”Paul and Barnabas traveled through three places with intent which was in part,…”…STRENGTHENING the souls of the disciples, ENCOURAGING them to continue in the faith…” -{Acts 14:22.} The ministry of encouragement, is so needed, and for the lonely is paramount. But note, Paul was intent in his purpose- to strengthen them…encourage them…to Continue, persevere…in the faith! Keep on keeping on! Paul was intent in his purpose. You can too.
  2. The KINGDOM OF GOD STILL NEEDS TO BE SPREAD -{Matt 6:33]… In the circumstances they find them self in, they can as Paul, “my circumstances have worked out to advance the Gospel.” -{Phil 1:12}. This Paul did from difficult circumstances while imprisoned and others had sought to harm him with impure motives in sharing the Gospel. Even then Paul chose to “rejoice,” because the Gospel was being advanced. In his circumstances he advanced the Gospel through evangelizing- v 13.and Encouraging God’s people to boldly share the Word.-14. {Phil 1:12-14}. He also had Prayed in {v-3-5,and 9-11}. ENCOURAGE THEM to see the people who are in their circumstances to pray, evangelize, encourage. Have them FOCUS OUTWARD on others and not inward on self! “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”-{John 4:35.}. “These were His instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So PRAY to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ASK Him to send more workers into His fields.”-{Luke 10:2.}. There is an URGENCY for the souls of men and the lonely must look beyond their own pain to those in spiritual need. Indeed, their own pain can be used for good in that they too know and can empathize with others who likewise have suffered in that way. The enemy would have them self-occupied, their Lord would have them to be Others occupied for His sake.- {2 Cor 4:5}. Help them to see this, that their lives matter for the Lord’s sake. In Acts 13- it is said of David, “David having served the purpose of God in his generation fell asleep…,” We all can seek to finish strong and serve God’s purpose in our generation. Encourage them that they can be such a force for the kingdom.

I met a dear man in his seventies, he lives alone. Sometimes I would go visit him and together we would sit on his front porch and talk about the Lord and prayer. He told me he prayed at least two hours a day. Every morning when he would awaken he would sit on the side of his bed and pray. He said because of his knees he could not kneel down. Indeed it is not the position of the body but of the heart that the Lord looks at. He would sit on the side of his bed and for an hour pray. and when he went to bed at night would sit on the side of his bed and pray another for another hour. He was a man who lived alone, and yet he was a man who stood in the gap to pray for others. Someone asked him how he could pray for so long. He answered that as names came to mind and he clicked his finger and thumb together to show how repeatedly, names came and he one after another prayed for people! He was about His Heavenly Father’s business. One day I went to see him and as I went to the front door, I saw him asleep in his chair and to his left sat a stack of Bibles on a table. Various translations that he kept next to him. He told me once when he would start to feel down, depressed, he would turn to one of those Bibles and read and read.

This was a lesson he learned in the midst of loneliness which often is accompanied at times by the “blues,” or depression. He turned to the LORD in such times. I did not knock on his door when I saw him sleep, I turned and walked away, and a sadness in my heart. Could it be he would sit there for days and not see another human being? In the months of illness that have me confined at home, I think of him, pray for him and thank God for his example. In his aloneness he reaches up to God to lift others up in prayer. He is an example of how those who are on their own can be those who stand before the LORD and pray. Encourage the lonely, those who can get out , that they can seek to share with others, who do not know Him and seek to encourage others who do know Him to continue to share the Word of God. The lonely need Hope. Pray for them to that end. Romans 15:4-5 and verse13 speak of perseverance, encouragement and the God who gives such, and hope. These are good verses to place the loneliness person’s name in and pray to God for them. You can practically participate and stand in the gap before God for them!

Don’t isolate the lonely, INTERACT with them and INTERCEDE for them!

Befriend them, seek to encourage them to look out for the concerns of others!
Focusing inward will thwart Seeking Him, His Kingdom. Don’t lose sight of Him, and your furthering His mission. Look outside of yourself to the lonely and come alongside someone to encourage them and together further His kingdom.

4 WAYS TO COME ALONGSIDE THE “LONELY” TO spur them on to eternal things. TAKE ACTION -Look today to come alongside, BEFRIEND and spur on. “God makes a home for the lonely.” Is your home such a place? Are you a friend to the lonely? The lonely need a friend. Someone who loves, accepts and invests their life into them and seeks to build them up in their faith. PRAY that God will lead you to someone whom you can come alongside.

    2. – EMPATHY
    3. – STRENGTHENING their Faith

*** Please feel free to cut and paste and pass on to others to encourage them to reach out to the lonely****