The loneliness epidemic (Week 4)

March 28, 2019

The Counseling Corner

By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.Th

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

– Psalm 23:4

Are you lonely? Loneliness, according to Britannica, is a “distressing experience that occurs when a person’s social relationships are perceived by that person to be less in quantity, and especially in quality, than desired. The experience of loneliness is highly subjective; an individual can be alone without feeling lonely and can feel lonely even when you are with other people.” Experts have gone so far as to call loneliness an epidemic. One thing is for certain, loneliness has never been a respector of persons. People of whatever age, race, religion, gender, country, etc., can be subject to loneliness. In the conclusion of this series, we will look at a study regarding loneliness and young people and conclude by encouraging you that God is our constant companion as God assures us, even during periods of loneliness, God will “never leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5).

Loneliness and the younger generation

Contrary to many beliefs, the elderly are not the loneliest among us. It is young people who are most lonely. In a U.S. News and World Report entitled: “Many Americans Report Feeling Lonely: Younger Generations More So”, (May 2018) noted that Generation Zers and Millennials reported higher feelings of loneliness and isolation. Generation Z (those between the ages of 18-22), were the loneliest generation, with a “loneliness score” of 48.3. Possible loneliness scores range from 20-80, with the national average of 44. Millennials (ages 23-37) were close behind with a score of 45.3. In addition, the report noted while we live in a digital world, social media use is not a predictor of feelings of loneliness. Nemecek, a chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at CIGNA noted: “What that means really is that I could have 1,000 or 10,000 friends on Facebook, but it’s the meaningful in-person relationships that I have with other people that actually keep me from becoming lonely.”

The Lord is with you in your loneliness

Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, Jesus assured His followers that “I am with you even until the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20). Although your lonely situation may have you feeling isolated and all alone, when you are in Christ, you always have Jesus as your companion. The Lord stood with the Apostle Paul as he proclaimed the message of Christ. (2 Tim. 4:17). Just as the Lord was with Paul, Jesus is with you, so with confidence approach God’s throne of grace, so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need. (Heb. 4:16a).

God provides divine strength

In the latter part of 2 Timothy 4:17, Paul notes that the Lord also “gave me strength…” Paul was confident that he was able to endure and do all things through Christ who gives him strength (See Phil. 4:13). During times of loneliness or when you feel emotionally or spiritually weak, know that God understands what you are going through and God will give you the peace, strength or whatever you need to endure what you are going through. Lean and depend on God when you feel hopeless in your loneliness.

Beloved, during your periods of loneliness, remember Jesus is always there for you. Only Jesus can meet all of your needs and only Jesus is the answer to your loneliness. Connect with God. God Loves. God Cares. God Understands. God Knows and God Comforts.

Next Month: Meditations for the Easter Season

General Disclaimed: The writer has used her best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered. Neither the publisher nor the writer shall be liable in any way for readers’ efforts to apply, rely or utilize the information or recommendations presented herein as they may not be suitable for you or necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes only. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.