Help for the Lonely

Bible Book: Psalms  102 : 6-7
Subject: Loneliness

Music in many ways, defines a culture. You want to know what's going on in a particular generation and culture, simply listen to the music being sung. By the way, that's true of Christian music as well. What people sing about defines their focus. For instance, in the early 70's the focus was on the Second Coming of Jesus. You heard a lot of music related to this theme at that time. This is true about music in culture in general. During WWII a lot of music described the war effort and America's unity around the war. In Post war America rock and roll was the music because these were the golden years of American life. Elvis burst onto the scene.

The 60's were a turbulent time. The Vietnam War and the questioning of authority led to music that expressed a lot of cynicism and sadness. The 80's and 90's saw the rise of individualism. Music expressed the most diverse flavor in our history. By the Late 90's and up to the present, we have seen the emphasis on multiculturalism. Every culture, every generation has been injected with one common theme - Loneliness.

The reason for this is because every generation is plagued by loneliness, and none more than our generation today. Loneliness affects people from every walk of life. Every strata of society has been plagued by loneliness. Janis Joplin, the queen of rock in the mid to late 60's, died from a drug over dose. Shortly before her death she was quoted as saying, "When I am not on the theater stage, I just lie around and watch television and feel very lonely." H.G. Wells, noted British historian, author, and scientist, was considered by many to be the greatest intellect of the 20th century. He simply stated before he died, "I am lonely."

We even have lonely heart's clubs today and dating web sites. I heard about one guy who wrote to a lonely hearts club, sent his picture and waited for a reply. In a few weeks he received it. The reply, "We're not that lonely."

The Psalmist, in Psalms 102: 6, 7, expressed the sentiments of many. Today, I want to offer help for the lonely. To do so we must first understand:

I. The Character Of Loneliness

Loneliness is no respecter of persons. The Christian and the non-Christian can be affected. Those close to God and those far from God can be caught in the grips of loneliness. There is a difference in being alone and being lonely. You can be alone and not be lonely. There are times when we all need to be alone. You cannot have a great relationship with God without being alone with God. Matthew 14:23 reads, "When Jesus had sent the multitudes away, he went up on a mountain by himself to pray, and he was alone there."

You can be lonely without being alone. You can be in a very large crowd and be lonely. Thoreau said, "A city is a place where hundreds of people are lonely together."

You can exude great confidence and be lonely. It may surprise you to know today all the lonely people around you.

Loneliness is:

The feeling of being cut off. The feeling of being unneeded. The feeling of detachment. The feeling of being unloved or unnecessary.

Loneliness is:

Slipping into a bed that is half empty because you spouse walked out on you.

Coming into your home that is quiet because the children are all gone and your spouse has recently died.

Living in the same house with a person whose view of life is vastly different from yours.

Realizing the buck stops with you and there is no one you feel you can talk to.

II. The Causes Of Loneliness

Read 2 Timothy 4.

A. Transitions In Life 4:6

Paul is facing big changes in his life. He knows any day Nero could have him killed. Life is a series of changes where at any point loneliness is possible. Couples face this when their children leave the nest, especially if they haven't fed their marriage relationship.

An elderly couple was all alone. The wife was hard of hearing. One evening while they were watching television the husband said, "I'm proud of you."

"What did you say?" asked the wife.

"I am proud of you," the husband responded.

She replied, "I am tired of you to."

B. Separation 4:9, 21

Paul was isolated from those he loved. He was isolated in a prison in a foreign place. This kind of situation is especially tough for those who are people persons. We read that 25% of Americans move every year. There are no roots for many. Families are spread out, where once they lived close together.

Separation by time is a factor. We are together, but we are not together.

C. Opposition Vs. 14

Paul was facing a lot of opposition to his ministry and work.

Do you feel you are facing opposition that is making you lonely? It is amazing in our society how you can go from hero to zero in a matter of minutes. It's lonely when you are going through a tough time and no one understands. It's lonely when you are grieving while others are having fun. It's lonely when you are misunderstood and criticized.

D. Rejection Vs. 16

Betrayal, and abandonment create loneliness. "Rejection is the most devastating form of hurt."

E. Success (Paul's Life As A Missionary)

Believe it or not success can bring loneliness. Successful people learn very quickly that it is lonely at the top.

F. Society

We live in a depersonalized society. We as the body of Christ should feel the need that is lacking in other parts of society.

III. Conquering Loneliness

Let me share 8 things you can do to overcome loneliness. These are God-given and time-proven solutions to this problem.

1. Make the best of a bad situation Vs. 13. When lonely, we tend to not take care of ourselves.

2. Don't allow loneliness to paralyze you.

3. Deal with resentment Vs. 16. Paul refused to be bitter. Resentment only makes you lonelier.

4. Understand God is near Vs. 17. God is there when you are lonely. You are never totally alone. The Psalmist said, "Where can I go from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you're there. If I go down to the grave you are there. If I take the wings of a dove where would I fly? You're there."

5. Focus on others Vs. 17. Paul wanted others to know about Jesus.

6. Don't build walls; build bridges.

7. Ask the lord to help you be a friend to someone in need.

8. Connect with other people. We need people. God brings into our lives people we can help and people who will help us.

[Editor's Note: This sermon did not contain notes on the invitation, but a preacher can easily call for those who are lonely to first be sure that they have the Friend Closer Than A Brother, the Lord Jesus, in their lives. Anyone without Him will not only be lonely in this life, but also in eternity. Secondly, some who are lonely may be that way because they have not joined a local church where they can get to know Christian friends. So, invite people to join your church. Lastly, some who are lonely need someone to pray with them. Invite those who need prayer to come forward and allow the pastor or a church leader to pray with them and for them.]