“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:4 (NLT)
I will never forget it. It was a spring day in my tenth-grade year and while walking home from school, I burst into tears. I remember sputtering and choking freely and having no idea why I was crying. This had never happened without immediate cause, and I knew there must be a reason for my tears. Scanning my heart and soul, the answer revealed itself: I was lonely. I had no friends and tensions at home were high. I was new in my faith with Christ and did not know a lot of believers. I was surprised that my heart could respond to something before my mind even knew why. I do not know if I said anything to the Lord about what I was feeling that day, but I do know that He heard my sorrow and, in His compassion, sent me what I needed. A lady at my church reached out to me, inviting me to attend a weekly program for Christian youth after school. This led to making friends who introduced me to other friends. Soon, I was serving at camps, going on retreats, and enjoying a fuller, more abundant life with people who shared my values.
Loneliness is not God’s desire for His children. There are not a lot of verses in the Bible about loneliness but plenty on how to prevent it. Think of all the “one another’s” in the Scriptures! I encourage you to be the cure for this malady in someone’s life. A phone call, a visit, or even a question they must answer with more than one word can unlock the door of loneliness so many endure. Make an effort to find out what another person’s story is, what impassions them, what they dream about. Our electronic culture makes it possible to “be around” without real, soul-nourishing interaction.
If you are the lonely one, the solution is the same, My Friend. Determine to give of your time and yourself to someone else. You will find the happy surprise that loneliness is overcome by giving to others what you need most for yourself. Whether you believe it or not, you are a treasure trove of valuable experience, laughter, giftedness, and significance. The lonely world is waiting for your unique light to shine, so shine it into someone’s lonely darkness. You both will be the better for it!