The Ache of Loneliness
By Jennifer Slattery
“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them … But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” Genesis 2:19-20
I was painfully lonely my first year of marriage. Though my husband and I interacted often, I also spent a good deal of time alone. More than that, he was my only source of companionship.
I was a relatively recent Nebraskan transplant surrounded by cornfields and neighbors I didn’t know. My heart cried out for deep and authentic community. Unfortunately, I sought it out in unhealthy ways. I began going to bars, where shallow friendships formed quickly and easily over beer and cocktails. Relationships that dulled my ache in the moment but failed to provide authentic connection.
I didn’t understand my need was God-given, and as such, would be met by Him. As a result, I attempted to fill my longing apart from Him.
Genesis tells us about the beginning of creation. God formed the first human, Adam, from the dust of the ground, placed him in paradise, and surrounded him with everything he could need. Everything that is, except for what his heart ached for most—relationship.
One by one, God brought the animals to Adam to name. The birds amused and entertained but couldn’t participate in intellectually stimulating conversations. The horse endeared but couldn’t converse. The dog was loyal but couldn’t share dreams for tomorrow.
Through a seemingly methodical assignment, God revealed then heightened Adam’s need. So that He alone could fill it, which He did when He created Eve.
He wants to do the same for us. When loneliness hits, it can be tempting to fill that void through unhealthy and perhaps even morally compromising relationships. But God invites us to surrender our emotional needs to Him, trusting He’ll fill them in His way and His timing. Our role is to come to God and follow His lead. His role is to provide.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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