The loneliness epidemic (Week 3)

March 14, 2019

The Counseling Corner

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

“If your life is empty, fill it with Christ.”
– Woodrow Kroll

The subject of loneliness was once a relatively ignored subject; now in recent years, this subject has clearly become one of the most important subjects of interest and concern in our society today. This week, let’s look at tips on how to overcome loneliness by looking briefly at how the Apostle Paul dealt with loneliness.

Overcoming loneliness

John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago psychologist and one of the top loneliness experts, offers a few tips on how to overcome loneliness:

• Recognize that loneliness is a sign that something needs to change.
• Understand the effects that loneliness has on your life, both physically and mentally.
• Consider doing community service or another activity that you enjoy. These situations present great opportunities to meet people and cultivate new friendships and social interactions.
• Focus on developing quality relationships with people who share similar attitudes, interests and values with you.
• Expect the best. Lonely people often expect rejection, so instead focus on positive thoughts and attitudes in your social relationships.

The Apostle Paul and loneliness

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Tim. 4:6-8

The Apostle Paul was a great advocate for the cause of Christ, yet he knew loneliness. Paul talked about being deserted by his ministry companions and even during his first appearance before the Roman court, Paul said: “no man stood with me, but all men forsook me…” (2 Tim. 4:16).

Just like you and me, Paul was human and experienced the pain and discomfort of loneliness and the feelings of being deserted by everyone. Yet, even in his loneliness, Paul found strength in his faith in God. How did Paul handle loneliness, first…

Paul kept his eyes on God. Paul had been imprisoned by the Romans awaiting a hearing before the Roman Emperor. Even during his imprisonment, Paul kept his eyes on God. Paul’s ultimate goal was to finish the race that God had called for him to complete. When you are experiencing loneliness, keep your eyes on God, allowing God’s strength and love to comfort you.

Beloved, Paul’s life was a testimony to the power of God which is at work even in our lives today. Paul’s letter to Timothy shows us how God’s strength is made perfect even in our weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9). Next week, we will look at other ways Paul handled loneliness.

Next Week: Continuation

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