The Language of Loneliness
“Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?’” (Matthew 26:40*).
Thomas Wolfe described loneliness as “the central and inevitable experience of every man,” but when we are lonely, we think no one else on earth understands.
Loneliness is everywhere, but it wears many disguises.
To the teenage girl, loneliness is an overwhelming pressure to be just like her girlfriends, at any cost.
To the college student, it’s going home for the summer to find that home has changed.
To the housewife, loneliness is being trapped by four walls, with no one but children to talk to.
To the young businessman, it’s being on the road all week, talking to clients.
Loneliness is the criticism and ingratitude that the middle-aged man receives, after bearing the heavy burdens of leadership.
To grandma, loneliness is living a thousand miles from her grandchildren, and to grandpa, it’s living in the silent world of deafness.
Jesus knew more about loneliness than any of us ever will. After all, there was not another Jesus Christ, anywhere on earth. He was one of a kind. He came to visit the people he created, but “His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). When he sought the support of his 12 disciples, they were preoccupied with visions of power and glory that they would have in the new kingdom. When he needed them most, in the agony of Gethsemane, they were “out of it.” Even in his final moments, hanging on the rack of death, he cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) feeling that his own Father had abandoned him.
If you are feeling lonely, you have come to the right place. Here, at this table, you can talk to someone who understands the secret language of loneliness.
Go ahead and tell the Lord how much you miss your friend who moved to Cambodia, to become a missionary.
Tell him how hard marriage is, and how tempted you are by another man, who is more attentive than your own husband.
Remind him that you are 35 years old and still you haven’t found a mate.
Talk to him about the shadow that cancer has thrown over your whole life, and how far away God seems at times.
Loneliness is not as bad if you have someone to talk to about it, especially someone who loves you so much he died for you.
*All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
Dan Schantz is professor emeritus at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri.