Loneliness is an integral part of our lives, it is woven into our very existence. And it is different for everyone.
What is loneliness?
Is loneliness a state of mind based on our emotions and feelings? Is it a feeling of inner emptiness, abandonment and loss?
Or is it a degree of social isolation? After all, we usually refer to loneliness as a lack of communication, participation, and support.
Or maybe it is a state of mind, the result of our reasoning? It is not without reason that they say that the more intellectually developed a person is, the more lonely he is.
Very often we feel loneliness after a parting or a loss of a loved one.
There is also "loneliness in the crowd," when, despite the fact that we are surrounded by people, it seems to us that we are all alone.
And sometimes we can say "how lonely I am" when we are just bored or in a bad mood.
But have you ever approached an extreme degree of loneliness?
Can you imagine the loneliness of someone who has been in solitary confinement for years? Imagine the loneliness of Robinson Crusoe on a desert island? Can you imagine the loneliness of Job, from whom even God turned away?
I think most people know the story of Job described in the Bible.
Job "was blameless, just, and God-fearing, and removed from evil" (Job 1:1), and in his wealth "he was more famous than all the sons of the east" (Job 1:3). He had seven sons and three daughters, making a happy family.
But suddenly, with God's permission, every conceivable misfortune that exists in the world comes upon Job. He loses all his possessions and his children die. He is stricken with a cruel disease, leprosy. His wife rejects him, saying, "Curse God and die!". His friends with their advice only add to his suffering. He is banished from society and forced to drag out his existence away from people, in terrible conditions.
But Job's main experience is the painful sense of God's abandonment, which causes the greatest suffering. Job finds no comfort in looking within himself, just as he finds no comfort in looking up to heaven. Accustomed to being encouraged by God's comfort, he not only suffers from a lack of it, but is struck by God's horrors.
Not surprisingly, the book is punctuated with heart-rending cries that Job addresses to Heaven. "My soul grieves, and why I live - I know not, and why do You war with me, O Guardian of man - why do You not let me swallow my saliva." Reaching the point of utter despair, Job cursed even his birthday.
But in spite of his suffering and God's silence, Job remains steadfast in his trust in God to the end. And this, in the end, completely transformed him and his whole life. "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; now my eyes see You" (Job 42:5). In the end, God blessed Job, and gave him twice as much of everything he had lost.
Real loneliness is loneliness without God
Sometimes each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, feels like Job, experiencing a sense of inner loneliness, alienation, abandonment, and God-forsakenness. And this is not surprising.
The feeling of loneliness is a consequence of the fall; before the fall, man was able to be in the presence of God at all times. As soon as man sinned and severed his fellowship with God, he became lonely. Therefore, no matter how many close people there are around, even if they are truly loving, attentive and caring, as long as man lives on earth, loneliness will be his fate to some extent.
We are born with innate loneliness--loneliness without God. As Blaise Pascal said, "There is an emptiness within every man. And it has the form of God." Therefore, loneliness without God also takes its own form within each person.
Whether one is happy in mortal life or deeply unhappy, he will retain to the end of his days the natural experience of loneliness as personal uniqueness and personal pain of separation - that very "I am. We are always made aware of the abyss of our soul, destined for the infinite God. "The abyss calls the abyss with the voice of Thy waterfalls.." (Psalm 41:8). Only God can give man all that he needs.
Many scholars call loneliness one of man's innate instincts, similar to the sense of hunger that allowed man to survive. The feeling of hunger makes man look for food, and the discomfort of loneliness makes man look for others, his own kind, and this makes man a collective human being, makes him interact, act together. This is why humanity has survived.
It can be said that man's ability to feel alone is a great blessing and because it is this feeling that should lead him to God.
Because there is a depth in everyone's heart to which no man can descend with him. And it is not a depth of joy that we can still share with someone. It is the depth of sorrow. When we experience sorrow, the ultimate heartache, we find ourselves alone with the abyss of our own suffering heart.
But it is there that God meets a person, and it is there, in that meeting, that the fate of our loneliness is decided.
I came to God, accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, in 1999 in one of the Evangelical churches. Three years later came the worst time of my life - for 2.5 years my father, mother, and younger brother died for various reasons, and then my second marriage collapsed.
My misunderstanding and resentment toward God led to denial, despair and depression. I ended up leaving the church. The loneliness had never been so real and cruel. Which almost ruined me.
It took me many years to be reconciled to God again, to stop feeling abandoned and lonely, and to find peace again in my relationship with God.
Loneliness shows us who we are and gives us the opportunity to fill the gaping void of the human soul. Whether it will be filled by God, or by our personal ambitions - lust for recognition, power, wealth, or escape from self - we decide for ourselves.
But we can never completely escape loneliness unless we are able to meet God within it and step out of the shell of our ego toward people.
The story of Job tells us that even in the deepest loneliness there is always hope. God's silence does not mean His absence. Believers know full well that God is present and listening even in the darkness of pain, rejection and loneliness.
I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in God even when He is silent. I believe in love, even when I am alone.
May we all, like Job, find the treasure in God, who will remain our part forever.