Tackling the Loneliness Epidemic with Scripture
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2022 26 Apr
“…and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:23).
The cold wind whipped right through me as I fought my way from my car to the door. “Accurate assessment of the day,” I said to a friend, ready to crawl into my jammies and hit the proverbial “redo” button.
“I’m with you,” she said.
There is something immediately consoling about the phrase. Loneliness is a hard reality in a lot of our lives. We all face hardship this side of heaven. Even when we are surrounded by other people, we can feel alone. The sad reality of the prevalence of anxiety and depression, even in younger generations, makes it hard for us to believe we aren’t alone.
Yet Scripture abounds with reminders we are not alone. In fact, the Lord adamantly tells us we are never alone.
Deuteronomy 31:6: "So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Joshua 1:9: “This is my command — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Psalm 27:10: “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”
Psalm 147:3: “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.”
Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Matthew 28:20: “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Romans 8:31: “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”
Philippians 4:13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
1 Corinthians 10:13: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
1 Peter 5:7: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
When we feel alone, we have to take what’s rolling around between our ears and sew it to the Truths we have planted in our hearts – to the truths above, and the many others lining the pages of the Bible. In order to absorb the encouragement the Lord has planted there for us, we have to take intentional time to take in the Word of God. Whether we listen to it spoken to us or over us, read it ourselves or alongside a devotional, or attend Bible studies and small groups, the more of God’s Word we absorb into our daily lives, the more encouraged we will be.
There is no magical fix for the rampant depression and anxiety coursing through our world right now. (If you are suffering, seek the help of counselors and professionals who were given the gift to walk through seasons of depression and anxiety with us.) The Lord never promised this life on earth would be easy, but He does promise to walk through it with us. He will always place people in our lives to help us, and those for us to help, through seasons of depression and anxiety.
With us. God with us.
In lonely moments, we can purposefully reflect on the love of God. He loved us so much, He sent His only Son to die for us so we would be saved. The Lord has been drawing us to Himself since the beginning of time. He longs for us to turn to Him, but His compassion allows it to be our decision. His timing reigns the universe, yet He is patient with us. The incredible nature of our God is evident in every person we bump into in daily life, not just the beauty of nature surrounding our every step.
Christ Jesus came to earth to feel what we feel. He can fully empathize with us, even depression and anxiety. Fully God, and fully man. Though He did not sin, He did feel what we feel. Loneliness and sorrow, and I would imagine anxiety, overcame Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He cried tears of blood. Jesus wept. He knows what it is to lose a friend, and endure the bullying mouths of those who don’t understand or appreciate Him for who He is.
Jesus told us we would be hated because of Him. We follow Him anyway, because we know what we have to gain is of far greater value than the acceptance of people on this earth. Our lives are purposed to bring glory to God through the specific gifts and talents He has put in us. And He is with us every step of the way as we seek to fit into His plan for our lives.
The will of God is to be with us. Our belief in Christ Jesus means the Spirit of the Living God is in us! God – in us!
The global pandemic put a spotlight on our struggle with loneliness, but it was operating in full swing long before we had to stay physically apart from each other. In fact, we were choosing to communicate through touch screens and speaker phones long before the pandemic. God is in us through Christ Jesus. We are never alone. But it is up to us to unplug from our daily distractions and recharge in the presence of His love.
The main channel of communication the Lord uses to encourage us is His Word – Scripture – The Bible. It’s through the Word that He reminds us we are never alone. We, too, can spread the love of His message to those around us. Here are a few simple things we can do daily to be encouraged by the Truth, and reach out to encourage those around us. Be encouraged, and pass it on. We are never alone.
1. Take a picture. Often during my daily time with the Lord, something will strike me which I want to remember, or pass on to one of my daughters or a friend. So, I take a picture of it, or a screen shot. Sometimes I pass it on right then and there to whomever the Lord has laid on my heart to reach out to. Other times He will make evident throughout the day who needs to hear a reminder of His love.
2. Wear it around. In a society full of merch, God’s Word is showing up all over our daily apparel. Donning a shirt with a verse of Scripture or an encouraging word not only reminds us when we look in the mirror, but it allows God’s encouraging word to hit the eyes of others who see us! We many never know who He is lifting up through simple acts of faith.
3. Pass it on. I began putting little Scripture cards in my daughters’ lunch boxes when they got too old for hand written notes with smiley faces on them. It caught on, and they began sharing them and sticking them all over their school. Don’t worry about who to give what card. Faithfully pass them on. The Lord knows what every soul on earth needs to hear and remember.
4. Say it. Speak truth and life over others who border our daily lives. It’s powerful. We don’t need to quote exact pieces of Scripture to be effective in this way. A prayerful, pure heart intent on encouraging others to bring glory to God is the only requirement. When we marinate our own minds in the Word of God, He is faithful to pass it on through us; we need only be willing.
There are many other ways to reach out and encourage others, and be encouraged. I find God by the water’s edge where I live, especially at sunrise or sunset. He is willing to meet us anywhere, through anyone – as long as we are willing to embrace Him. We are never alone. Immanuel, God with us. The Holy Spirit, in us. Take the time to remember those truths and pass them on.
More from this author
Only through Christ Are We Made Complete
What It Looks Like to Have a Pure Heart
God Is Not Surprised by Our Unexpected Messes
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/kieferpix
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her on the journey as she launches her new site Joy Overflowing, or join her longstanding community at Sunny&80. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Media since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team. Always active in her community and the local church, Meg also leads Bible study and serves as a leader for teen girls.