Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted – Psalm 25:16, NASB
At some point in our lives, we may have experienced loneliness. I experienced after losing both my parents and my son within months of each other in 2019. Although I had loved ones and friends who sent me messages of comfort, I still felt alone. I felt lonely in my grief and sorrow. I felt that no one can really understand what I was going through.
Then, I realized that I wasn’t alone. God was always there with me. He was there in those moments when I broke down as the pain became unbearable. He was there to comfort me. He understood exactly how I felt and that helped me. God has brought me through those tough moments. I still experience great sadness but it isn’t as overwhelming as it was before. I’m reminded of Psalm 23:4 which says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” We have nothing to fear because God is with us. He comforts us during those times when we are going through the valley. We are not alone. He is walking alongside us, ready to carry us the rest of the way when we can’t continue.
No doubt, Job felt lonely during his affliction. He was shunned by His friends were there but according to him, they were “miserable comforters” and he felt that God wasn’t present. In times of loneliness, we felt deserted. We feel like everyone has abandoned us and we wonder, “Where is God?” We can’t feel His presence but He’s there. We have this promise, “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV).
There were times when King David must have felt all alone in his trials and afflictions. He cried out to God, Turn to me, and be gracious to me, for I am isolated and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses. Look on my pain and misery, and forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with violent hatred. Watch over my life, and deliver me! Let me not suffer shame, for I seek refuge in You” (Psalm 25:16-20, NKJV).
Jeremiah was a lonely prophet. He didn’t have a family and he had more enemies than friends. He wasn’t a popular guy because he was speaking out against the sinfulness of Judah and warning people whom he had known most of his life of impending judgment unless they repented and changed their ways. He was described as the “weeping prophet”.
He lamented, “Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me as a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have not lent with usury, nor have men lent to me on usury, yet every one of them curses me!” (Jeremiah 15:10). He told God, “Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke” (verse 15).
God assured him that, even though the people will fight against him, “but they shall not prevail against you;
for I am with you to save you and to deliver you, says the Lord. I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the hand of the violent” (verses 20, 21). When we’re overwhelmed by loneliness, God will step in and deliver us.
Jesus experienced loneliness too. When He was on the cross, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) And the prophet Isaiah said of Him, “He was despised and rejected of men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him” (Isaiah 53:3). He knows what it’s like to be lonely but He has promised, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). And, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
The apostle Paul experienced loneliness when he first appeared at his trial. It must have been overwhelming, especially after he had spent years sharing the Gospel and now he was a prisoner. He testified, “At my first defense no one stood with me, but everyone forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me for His heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:16-18).
Loneliness is something most of us don’t want to experience but when we do, it doesn’t have to weigh us down nor discourage us. It helps to remember that we’re never alone. We have Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).