I remember weekends in college in Chicago, when most of the girls either went home or out on dates with their boyfriends – I was homesick. I would sit in my dorm room alone eating popcorn and listening to George Winston’s Pachabel’s Canon play on repeat for hours(I still do this! lol!). I never did go out on dates in college – not once – I was dating Keith long distance. I poured over God’s word on those long weekends and filled in the gaping dark hole with God’s presence.
Finally, I married Keith after 4 long years apart and we moved to Columbus, Ohio for him to finish college at Ohio State University. I was in a new town – with a new name – with a new job – and a new church. I recall walking into my first Bible study in the new church and no one greeting me. I sat alone and was very uncomfortable. I had made some non-Christian friends at work. But I longed for a safe refuge of Christian friends where I could let my guard down and be myself. It took about 18 months before I developed my first “real” Christian friendship…it was a long lonely 18 months.
Then I moved home after 7 years away. I had finally made Christian friends back in Columbus – but here I was “alone” again! I pulled out a prayer journal from my first week home and I had written in there… “Help me Lord to not get into a rut of self pity as it is hard in a new town with no friends.” Looking back it’s humorous. I wasn’t in a new town? I was in my hometown. These weren’t new friends? They were old friends. But I was scared – I had changed in 7 years – so had they – would they accept me?
If we choose to turn away from God in response to our loneliness we will go down a very cold road. Job and Elijah felt so alone they wanted to die. Jeremiah wished he had never even been born. Satan can use this time to enter sinful thoughts into our minds such as self pity, self-centeredness, bitterness, anger, and jealousy. We may attempt to put a band aid on the pain by turning to the television, alcohol, shopping, binge eating, or excessive computer time.
But, the only comfort I ever found was in releasing my needs to God in prayer and then trusting God. If you are struggling with loneliness today I encourage you to read Psalm 84:11,12. Place your trust in God, then go one step further and delight yourself in God as the rest of Psalm 84 says.
Stop being jealous, stop shopping, stop suppressing the pain with food. I testify as one lonely sister to another (*tears are stinging as I write this next line because God has taught me this truth through tears over and over and over and I pray with all my heart you will grasp this) - it has been in my trusting and delighting – that God has filled the God shaped hole inside of me, to the brim.
In time, God will bring you the fellowship you long for but never let your friends replace your Walk with the King,