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Lonely or Alone

  • Dr. H. Norman Wright Counselor & Author
  • 2002 6 Sep
Lonely or Alone

[Lord] turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
—Psalm 25:16, (Amp.)

What does it mean to be lonely? David cried out to God, “I cry,” “I complain,” “My spirit grows faint,” “No one cares about me” (see Ps. 142:1-4, NIV).

As we hear in these words from David, loneliness is the feeling that you don’t count, that you’ve been cut off from others, isolated, deserted or even banished from relationships with others. It’s the feeling that even though you are in a room full of people, you are still all alone.

The word “lonely” has a mournful and eerie sound. It is cold like the earth in winter when the birds and flowers have abandoned it.

Singles commonly perceive loneliness as a sign of relational failure and inadequacy because people were created for relationship. Thus, singles sometimes feel ashamed when they are lonely. Why shame?

John Powell’s book Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?, provides the answer: If I tell you who I am, you might not like who I am, and that is all I have! Therefore we live with the fear of rejection in lonely castles we have erected with bricks of self-protection. Ask yourself the following questions:

Am I expecting other people to know that I am lonely? Am I expecting others to reach out to me? Am I expecting others to read my mind and know my situation? Am I afraid of letting others know me?

Sometimes the reason you feel lonely has to do with the kind of people you’re drawn to. It could be you are in relationship with takers rather than givers. If so, it’s time to reassess your choice of friends.

Also realize that no one person can meet all of your needs. Only Jesus knows the heart of each one of us. He is the only friend who will never leave or forsake you.

Jesus felt the pangs of loneliness. He was misunderstood by the masses and only partially understood by His disciples. He suffered loneliness in the garden of Gethsemane, in Pilate’s judgment hall and upon the cross (see Matt. 26—27). His heart of love must have felt the full force of anguish that accompanies loneliness.

Jesus suffered loneliness that He might draw us into intimate relationship with Himself. For it is only when we take time to be alone with Him that we can know freedom from loneliness in its purest sense.

Are you lonely? Who knows about it? Perhaps this is the time to say, “I don’t have to be lonely. I’m going to reach out to God and other people.” Vulnerability requires risk. But Jesus risked everything for you so you might never face the loneliness of being all alone again. You can be joined to Him. Have you made that choice?

Questions for Reflection

God can use your loneliness to draw you into a deeper relationship with Himself. Take inventory of your prayer life. If you are especially lonely, ask yourself: Am I spending enough time alone with Him? Am I lonely because I would rather be alone than become vulnerable? What steps can I take to reach out to God and others?


1. William Mitchell, Winning in the Land of Giants (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), pp. 27-28, adapted.

Excerpted by permission from Single Purpose: A Devotional for Singles by H. Norman Wright (Regal Books), p. 11-12.

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Dr. H. Norman Wright is a graduate of Westmont College (B.A. Christian Education), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.R.E.), and Pepperdine University (M.A. in Clinical Psychology) and has received honorary doctorates D.D. and D.Litt. from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and Biola University respectively. He has pioneered premarital counseling programs throughout the country. Dr. Wright is the author of over 65 books—including the best-selling Always Daddy’s Girl and Quiet Times for Couples. He and his wife, Joyce, have a married daughter, Sheryl, and a son, Matthew, who was profoundly retarded and is now deceased. The Wrights make their home in Southern California.