THE EPIDEMIC OF LONELINESS
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
Among God’s first recorded words in scripture are those found in Genesis 2:18. “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.” As societies have sought to push God aside and inject their own standards for life and living, an epidemic of loneliness has resulted. In a recent Angus Reid survey nearly half of Canadians sometimes or often feel alone. In the U.S, the number of Americans who feel they have no one with whom they can speak to has tripled since 1985. Six in ten Britons recently told pollsters that their pet is their closest companion. People across the Western world are reporting higher levels of persistent loneliness than ever before despite all the digital technologies that enable us to have instant contact with others around the world. This sense of “virtual belonging” has been found to drag people even further into isolation, distancing them from meaningful relationships. Despite the grinning faces we all wear, modern life has left many feeling adrift, left out and alone. Researchers at the University of Chicago’s Brain Dynamics Laboratory are working on a drug called “pregnenolone” to reduce the pain and social fallout of loneliness. (National Post, August 10, 2019) Yet another sign of the creeping medicalization of everyday human woes. God has an answer to loneliness that revolves around a sense of “belonging.” Psalm 68:6 CEV states, “God sets the lonely in families.” 1. The first “family” God set us in was the family of man. Today however, populism continues to fragment humanity keying in on exclusion, division and differences. In her book, “A Biography of Loneliness,” Fay Alberti said, “At its extreme, individualism states that we are not only disconnected from others, but in competition with them.” 2. Another of God’s answers for loneliness involved the creation of the biological family unit. Families were part of God’s plan for the support, love, care, affirmation and friendship we all need. Yet all over the world the family as God meant it, is being attacked and ripped apart. 3. The issue of loneliness was likewise in God’s mind when He established the Church to be the family of God. Paul talked about this spiritual community as “The Body of Christ” (II Cor. 12:12-27) where each member is an essential and valued part of the whole. “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5 NIV) No one was to feel alone. And weaker members were to be treated with honor and special care as all members showed concern for each other. (II Cor. 12:24-25) 4. Significant above all is God’s promise to be with us and never to abandon us. Moses encouraged Joshua to be strong, courageous and not afraid because “…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Duet. 31:6) Jesus promised his followers to presence himself with them – right to the end of the age. (Matt. 28:20) His promise has not changed. Before the modern era squeezed God out of our schools, institutes of higher learning, governments and society at large, fewer felt truly alone because of the widely accepted idea of a God who was always there. (Psalm 46:1) Loneliness is not just a cultural disorder or feeling of estrangement that affects a person’s place in the world. At a deeper level loneliness is a spiritual illness that stems from our departure from God himself and/or from the major human, biological and church family structures He put in place to ensure we are never alone. Feeling lonely on occasion happens to us all. Chronic loneliness, however, is another of Satan’s tools to steal, kill and destroy. “There are friends who pretend to be friends,” the Bible says. “But there is a friend (Jesus) who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24 LB) “Come to me,” Jesus invites us. “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. …Walk with me …work with me …Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message) Be blessed my friend, Glen Pitts, The Barnabas Group Duet. 5:1-10; II Corinthians 12:18, 27: Hebrews 13:1-5; Psalm 68:6-7; 25:14-17; Psalm 46
P.S. Today I leave on mission for Nicaragua - hence the early MM. The next MM will be sent out Sept. 16. Appreciate your prayers.