Grief and loneliness are major problems facing people today. The two often go together because many Christians and unbelievers grieve over being lonely. In my ministry, an increasing number of people request prayer for loneliness.
God's Word tells us plainly that we are not alone. He wants to deliver, comfort and heal us. But when you encounter painful losses in your life, you can lose sight of this simple truth.
Satan wants you to believe you are alone. He wants you to believe that no one understands how you feel, but his claims are false. In addition to God's being with you, many believers understand what you are experiencing mentally and emotionally.
The fact is that we are not alone now nor will we ever be, no matter what confronts us. Yet that doesn't keep us from feeling alone in the crux of life's conflicts. To bolster our faith, we are given account after account in the Bible of God's delivering His children from their afflictions.
In 1 Samuel 17:37 we read David's testament to God's deliverance just prior to the defeat of Goliath: "The Lord who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" (The Amplified Bible).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego experienced affliction when they remained firm in their commitment to the one true God (see Dan. 3:10-30). Refusing the king's edict to bow to his idol, these three continued to worship God and were thrown into a fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than normal.
God delivered them so completely from this ordeal that they didn't even smell like smoke! In addition, the Son of God joined them in the fire, they were promoted to some of the highest offices in the land, and God's greatness was proclaimed throughout the kingdom.
Daniel is another example of God's willingness and ability to deliver. Thrown into the lion's den for praying to God, Daniel knew such deliverance that he came away from the ordeal unscathed while his enemies were completely vanquished (see Dan. 6).
Along with these examples of deliverance comes edification regarding loneliness. First, loneliness is not a sin. Therefore, don't add feelings of guilt to your wounds. Second, loneliness can be cured regardless of its cause. You don't have to learn to live with it.
Third, make the distinction between being alone—which implies that you are independent, solitary or on your own—and being lonely. Being lonely suggests that you are desolate or dejected due to a lack of companionship.
Fourth, the very nature of the situations that bring you loneliness and grief require a choice to go one way or the other, get better or worse, overcome or go under.
Crisis always provokes change, yet you must make the better choice. Grieving is necessary mentally, emotionally and physically. But when it lingers past a healthy point, you must take control of it or it will rob you of your health or life itself.
You may not understand much when you are hurting and the pain of loss is ripping through your soul, but know and hold on to this one truth: God loves you, and He has a future for you. Hope in Him and trust Him to turn your mourning into joy (see Is. 61:1-3).
I was abused sexually, mentally and emotionally as a child. I have known sickness in my life (a 10-year bout with migraine headaches, an attack of cancer, and several minor but nonetheless painful and distressing ailments), and in each case God delivered me and provided answers.
By waiting on God, I was brought to His deliverance every time. He has rescued me from loneliness and grief, and I know He will deliver you as well! Allow God to walk you through step by step. Allow Him to bring you your own personal deliverance.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, Look Great, Feel Great: 12 Keys to Enjoying a Healthy Life Now (all Warner Faith). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at www.charismamag.com/meyer.
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