My spouse died last year. I’m not close to wanting a relationship, but I wonder how I will ever have a loving relationship again.
People face different kinds of loneliness. But when we lose a loved one, it touches the very core of our lives. I don’t have to tell you that survivors of death, divorce, and estrangement experience the most intense form of loneliness and often believe their pain is insurmountable. Before long, loneliness can give way to hopelessness.
• Keeping an open mind
• Focusing your thoughts on Christ
• Finding ways to connect
• Maintaining your perspective
Keep an Open Mind
Once these feelings set in, many people choose to remain lonely because they fear rejection. They imagine that rejection would hurt worse than being alone, so they spend a great deal of time and money avoiding it. I want to caution you against this. Those who expect to be rejected usually will feel that they are. Those who expect to receive friendship and comfort usually will.
Focus Your Thoughts on Christ
Instead, focus your thoughts on Christ, who has given you this promise:
Matthew 7:7-8, 12
Find Ways to Connect
When you need friendship and comfort, offer friendship and comfort, and don’t expect rejection. During times of social distancing or isolation, this will require additional creativity, but it is still possible. Contact your church and ask to be part of the prayer ministry. While you’re on the phone, ask about support groups for people in your situation. Perhaps you could volunteer at the local food bank, library, or school. Whatever you do, accept yourself where you are, and remember that Christ will not reject you. He will always respond with loving acceptance.
You can become a survivor in Christ through your faith in Him. In Christ, you can survive grief and loneliness. Your greatest source of comfort and hope is Christ Jesus. And that hope can propel you into a spirit of praise and thanksgiving for His constant care.
Maintain Your Perspective
Finally, let me offer this encouragement: It is not sinful to experience loneliness. You have good company in your suffering. The prophet Jeremiah struggled with loneliness as he stood for righteousness in an evil time. Ruth moved to a foreign country as a poor widow with only one companion (who was also grieving). King David not only experienced abandonment and discouragement, but he was betrayed and even hunted by those close to him.
Loneliness only becomes a sin when we indulge it. Equip yourself with a few verses that are particularly encouraging to you. Keep them close at hand and meditate on them. It is hard to remain discouraged when you realize, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).