Letting Go of Loneliness

Bible Book: Psalms  102 : 6-7
Subject: Loneliness; Fellowship; Presence of God
Series: Dealing With How Your Feeling

Psalm 102:6-7

"I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I lie awake, and am like a sparrow alone on the housetop" (NKJV).

If you have ever been lonely or felt lonely, you know it is one of the most terrible feelings in the world. Hank Williams recorded a song in 1949, which has become a country classic entitled, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." The lyrics themselves are haunting. Here is just a part of it:

"Hear the lonesome whippoorwill, He sounds too blue to fly,

The midnight train is whining,

I'm so lonesome I could cry.

I've never seen a night so long,

When time goes crawling by,

The moon just went behind a cloud,

To hide it's face and cry.

Did you ever see a robin weep,

When leaves begin to die,

That means he's lost the will to live,

I'm so lonesome I could cry."

We are turning into an increasingly lonely culture. Since 1957, the percentage of Americans who acknowledge "feeling lonely" according to an Easterbrook Survey has quadrupled. Twenty-two percent of all Americans ate dinner alone last night. A Gallup poll recently stated that 3 out of 10 Americans are lonely. One of our country's best novelists, Thomas Wolfe, once said, "The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, particular to myself and a few other solitary men is the central and inevitable fact of human existence. We all experience loneliness at one time or another." [22]

Fox News featured a story several years ago about the mummified body of a man sitting in a chair in front of his TV set. Doctors determined that he apparently had been dead for more than four years. No one reported the 51-year-old man missing. He had no relatives and lived in an attic apartment of an otherwise unoccupied house. The body was found when a real estate dealer went to inspect the house for someone who had inherited it. An investigation showed the man was unemployed, so he would not have been missed at work. An autopsy revealed that he had died of natural causes.

The owner of the house declared it empty in 1994 after getting no response on several warnings to pay the rent. The electricity had also been cut off at that time because the bills hadn't been paid, but apparently no one had bothered to check the apartment. So here was a man who had been dead for over four years, but no one even knew it.

Lonely people are everywhere. In fact, I have found that people from all walks of life come into contact with loneliness. Privilege, position, and power cannot pay loneliness to stay away. Actually, now and then loneliness is just what these things buy.

The king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley, just before he died, wrote on a note these words, "I feel so alone sometimes. The night is quiet for me. I'd love to be able to sleep. I'll probably not rest. I have no    need for all this. Help me, Lord."

God predicted and presumed the problem of loneliness, and said from the very start, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18, NKJV). There are even some theologians who adhere to the theory that God created the earth and mankind because He was lonely.

The writer of the Psalm 102 understood what it was to be lonely. He experienced loneliness to the severest degree. He felt like a pelican alone in the wilderness. He felt like a remote owl of the desert. He felt like a sparrow alone on a housetop. Perhaps some of you are thinking at this moment, "That is precisely how I feel." In that case, let me share with you some practical steps on how to let go of your loneliness.

I. Confront The Feeling of Loneliness

There is a key difference between being alone and being lonely. You can be alone without being lonely. In fact, there are times when we all need to be alone. You cannot have an intimate relationship with God without being alone with God. The Bible says concerning the Lord Jesus in Matthew 14:23, "And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on a mountain by Himself to pray. And when evening had come, He was alone there."

Far from loneliness being the same thing as being alone, you can be lonely without being alone. You can be in a crowd of thousands of people and yet feel extremely lonely. Henry David Thoreau, the great American poet, once said that a "city is a place where hundreds of people are lonely together."

Loneliness, experienced when you are not alone, is the most terrible kind of loneliness because then you recognize that company is not inevitably the cure. Loneliness is not seclusion in space; it is separation in spirit. It is feeling isolated, ignored, detested, neglected, useless, and maybe even unwanted.

The silence of loneliness is boisterous. You can hear it at night as you crawl into a bed half empty because your spouse has left you for someone else. You can hear it in a home that is quiet because all of the children have moved out and your spouse has passed away. You can hear it in a phone that never rings because no one calls anymore. You can hear it in a mailbox that is empty because no  one writes anymore. There is no feeling quite like it, and you must confront it.

II. Consider The Fact Of Loneliness

There is absolutely no refuting the reality or the consequences of loneliness. It permeates  civilization. Notice the ads on television. Have you observed from beer advertisements that people  are never drinking alone? They are always drinking with other people. Did you know those ads are actually not selling alcoholic beverages, they are selling companionship. Now there are even Internet websites and chat rooms that are just a "mouse click away" where millions of people just go to find someone talk to.

Lonely people roam throughout our society trying to find someone or something that can heal their solitude. Every night you can go by the bars or the clubs and see that they are packed because people are lonely. So why do we get lonely? Why is loneliness such a distinct fact?

A. Sadness

Many people are lonely because of sadness brought on by rejection. They have attempted to make friends or they have aimed to form long-term relationships, but in some way or other they were rejected, possibly through no fault of their own. Their spouse left them. Their fiancé broke off the engagement and they feel defeated, disregarded, and despised. People like this who have been burned once would prefer to be lonely than ever to be burned again.

Some people are lonely because of sadness brought on by loss. This is especially true when a spouse loses his or her mate, or someone loses their best friend. In some ways they cannot seem to rise above it and go on with their lives. They sink into a sea of loneliness.

B. Self-worth

At times loneliness is the self-imposed wound of low self-worth. Many people cannot accept others because they have never accepted themselves or because they compare themselves to other people and don't seem to measure up. Rather than building bridges, they build barriers to keep people out, and to keep privacy in.

A number of people are lonely because they just want to be lonely. We often refer to these individuals as "loners." They are isolated, they are secluded, and they are lonesome because they decide to be.

C. Self-centeredness

Honestly, some people are lonely because of their own fault. They are so self-centered, so infatuated with who they are, so conceited, so arrogant, that people cannot stand to be around them. A dear lady once remarked, "My husband and I have managed to be happy together for 20 years. I guess          this is because we're both in love with the same man." Self-centeredness and egotism are sure  ways to be lonely.

D. Success

Successful people quickly discover that it is lonely at the top. People climb and climb the ladder of success only to find many times it is up against the wrong wall. As soon as they get to the top step they suddenly recognize that a lot of their friends and associates no longer sense that close connection. Either out of envy or embarrassment that they have not progressed as far in the corporation, they no longer want to have that camaraderie and that closeness. Some of the loneliest people in the world are some of the most successful people in the world.

E. Society

We are living in a world that has so deprived the individual of the sense of personal identity that it is tough not to feel lonely. We might as well face up to it, to many people, and to many businesses, we are simply a number on someone's computer list.

In addition, loneliness is a growing problem in our society. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the most lonely group in America are college students. That's surprising! Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly.

To illustrate how lonely people can be, Charles Swindoll pointed to an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, "I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5." Swindoll said, "Sounds like a hoax, doesn't it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn't long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship."

F. Sin

The true reason for loneliness is sin. The first human emotion Adam felt in the Garden of Eden after he had sinned was loneliness. He knew that his fellowship with God had been interrupted, and he sought to hide from God, and he was lonely. Ever since then there has been a barrenness and a sense of loneliness that the human race feels because every person's sin has alienated them from God. Loneliness is in virtually all of us.

III. Control The Force Of Loneliness

Loneliness can do substantial physical damage. Many years ago several patients who had experienced heart attacks were surveyed, and it was discovered that 50 percent of them were feeling depressed and lonesome when their heart attacks transpired.

Loneliness can cause significant emotional damage. It was also estimated that 80 percent of those who required psychiatric help came predominantly because of feelings related to loneliness. Many times people with suicidal inclinations are merely fighting what they feel is a losing battle with the fiend of loneliness. [23]

Ralph Speas in his book, "How to Deal with How You Feel", wrote, "A person who wallows in loneliness, who doesn't adapt to an 'alone' situation, usually shows signs of self-pity. Resentment, cynicism, sarcasm, and social fear often set in. The person sometimes finds himself daydreaming and withdrawing. There's no logic to it. Loneliness triggered by the state of aloneness makes the person want to be more alone. Somehow prolonged loneliness fails to reveal any productive elements. Indeed, this emotion actually makes a person unproductive ... it hardly seems that it is God's design for us to live with prolonged loneliness." [24]

IV. Conquer The Foe Of Loneliness

Loneliness is an emptiness in every soul that people are seeking to fill in every way conceivable. As his UCLA football team suffered through a poor season in the early 1970s, head coach Pepper Rodgers came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans. Things got so bad, he remembers with a smile, that friends became hard to find. "My dog was my only true friend," Rodgers says of that year. "I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends - and she bought me another dog."

People, everyday in every way, are trying everything they can to control and to contain their loneliness. Some try liquor, some try laughter, some try learning, some try luxury, some try lust, and some try labor. However, the only cure for loneliness is found in the Lord, Jesus Christ.

If you are one of the lonely, let me convey to you two helpful solutions on how to conquer the foe of loneliness.

A. Talk To The Savior

Jesus is aware of your loneliness. Psalm 102 is a messianic psalm. It is a prophecy foretold of the Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus experienced loneliness when He was on this earth. As a matter of fact, Jesus almost certainly experienced loneliness as no other person who has ever lived has experienced loneliness.

Jesus knows what it is to be unwanted. He understands that "nobody cares about me" feeling. John said concerning Jesus, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11, NKJV). Jesus was rejected by his family. For quite some time they did not even believe in Him. He was rejected in his hometown. They did not even pay Him any mind. He was rejected by his disciples who ran away at his greatest hour of need. In fact, even the unbelievable happened. He was abandoned by His own Father, His Heavenly Father. As the life flowed out of Him on that old-rugged cross, a Holy God turned His back on His only Son who was carrying the sins of the world. And Jesus cried out in agony from the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46, NKJV).

Jesus comprehends what it is to be deserted and to be lonely, yet Jesus came so that you would never be lonely again. When you talk to Him and trust in Him, He enters into your life. Jesus said in

John 14:23, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

As one of God's children, I take pleasure in the eternal company of God the Father, who said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV). I take pleasure in endless fellowship with God the Son who said, "Lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20, NKJV). I take pleasure in the enduring presence of God the Holy Spirit, who, we are told, "will abide with us forever" (John 14:16, NKJV). The first step to conquering loneliness is to talk to the Savior.

B. Turn To The Suffering

If you are lonely, look for someone else who is lonely and help them. Stop thinking about your loneliness and endeavor to cure someone else's. The Bible states in Isaiah 58:10, "If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday."

As a final point, I want you to understand that through the Lord Jesus Christ you can conquer the foe of loneliness. The primary key to overcoming loneliness is an awareness, an assurance, and a confidence that once you are rightly related to God through faith in Christ. Once you have this, you are never truly alone. Furthermore, the more you cultivate intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the stronger your relationship with God will be.


[22] Thomas Wolfe, "The Hills Beyond" (New York: Harper Brothers, 1941), 186.

[23] Adrian Rogers, "Mastering Your Emotions" (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1988), 105.  [24] Ralph Speas, "How to Deal with How You Feel" (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1980), 91.