Someone prayed, “Dear Lord, help us to realize that some of our greatest times of devotion to you come when we are the loneliest. Amen.”
At the end of the apostle Paul’s life and ministry, imprisoned in Rome for the second time, realizing he would not be released, soon facing death as a martyr, Paul described an occasion he felt abandoned and all alone.
Yet in that desperate situation, he allowed it to bring him into a deep encounter with the Jesus.
“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them” (2 Timothy 4:16).
Paul was essentially saying: “When I had a preliminary investigation before the formal Roman trial, no one came to my support. No one who could really help me stood by my side when I needed them most.” That is the feeling of loneliness.
“In fact, everyone deserted me. Everyone let me down.” That is the feeling of aloneness.
Mother Teresa said, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It’s the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted – of being deserted and alone.”
Nevertheless, Paul didn’t blame anyone else. “May it not be held against them.”
He didn’t hold a grudge. He didn’t let resentment or bitterness take root. He didn’t become angry. He forgave and released those “friends” from what they should have done.
We may have had a similar experience of people we depended upon letting us down – they didn’t follow through when we needed them.
As a result, we may struggle with loneliness and aloneness. Expecting others to do something about it may not always take place the way we desire.
Passively waiting for relationships to be restored or new ones to be formed, may not happen the way we hope. Blaming our lonely situation on someone else, may only feed a spirit of bitterness. Sitting around sullen and blaming ourselves, may only leave us with self-pity.
Instead, as difficult as it may be, let’s reach out to God. Lean on the Lord Jesus. God came through for Paul in some very big ways. And God can come through for us.
Action Step: Instead of withdrawing into loneliness, reach out to God for support.
~ Pastor Dave