Loneliness is both a reality we'll all face and an opportunity that has the potential to launch us spiritually. First, we need to call out those pretenders. There are three things that vie for our attention when we get hammered with a lonely heart. These three things promise the moon but simply can't deliver.
1. Things: We could also call this "stuff". Things or stuff want us to reach into our wallet and try to purchase something to fill the void of loneliness. Even a shopping spree can dull the pain for a time, but then the pain of loneliness will return with even more power when the material buzz wears off.
2. Noise: There isn't enough music or sit-coms to dull the pain of loneliness. Noise can be a distraction for an evening but when we head off to bed the silence within us can be overwhelming. For some, the noise of life has actually become our friend. But this friendship can never truly satisfy. It leaves us with a hollow sense of lifelessness.
3. Fools: When loneliness hits us we are tempted to find almost anyone to fill us up. Some lonely people have wandered into marital commitments with fools. More of us have given away our heart, our deepest longings, and our wildest dreams, to a fool. Fools can dress up in church clothing, talk with authority, and even feign compassion. But the person who, out of their own insecurity, is willing to trade confidences to climb a ladder of approval is dangerous. Fools will also contrive stories to climb in authority. Don't be on the same ladder with a fool. The temptation to become "tight" too quickly must be squelched. Watch and wait. See if they've thrown others under the bus in the past and stay clear until trust can be gained over time.
The bottom line: No single thing, no noise, and no fool can fill the void of loneliness. Take the time, I mean to carve out time, to cultivate a friendship with God when no one else seems to be there. The whole idea of new life is that, in Christ, we now have a "friend". God gives us prizes in disguise. Loneliness can be a bonanza – getting to know the greatest friend on earth. He has a vantage point like no other friend and he can overflow us with his presence. Yes, we need friends to fill us up. But let God touch our deepest needs, first!
EVENT - College and Work-force Single Adults: Nite-out with Karl & Junanne on February 23rd. Karl will be sharing the Big 3 questions every single adult should be asking themselves that will transform relationships. Come to 180Chicago.church this Sunday for more info.