You can be surrounded by people 24/7 and still feel lonely, but the Bible says a lot about loneliness and how we are never truly alone if we believe. God is always there for us no matter what. He stands by our side, even when we cannot feel Him. As people, we just want to feel loved, and when we don't fee loved we can make some bad decisions. Yet, if we look to God to feel that love, we will always find it and know we are not alone.
Being Alone vs. Being Lonely
There is a difference between aloneness and loneliness. Alone means you are by yourself in a physical sense. There is no one there with you. It can be a good thing when you want some peace and quiet or a bad thing when you're alone in a dark, dangerous alley…but either way it's physical. However, loneliness is a state of mind. It's a feeling of having no one to turn to, having no one who loves you…and can easily become a state of despair. Loneliness can be experienced when we're alone or when we are completely surrounded by people. It is very internal.
Isaiah 53:3 - "He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care." (NLT)
How to Handle Loneliness
Everyone experiences loneliness from time to time. It's a natural feeling. Yet, we often forget the proper response to feeling lonely, which is to turn to God. God is always there. He understands our need for friendship and fellowship. Throughout the Bible we are reminded of our responsibilities to one another, so it is not surprising that we get lonely when we have a lack of connection to other people.
So when loneliness starts to creep in on us, we need to first turn to God. He gets it. He can be our comfort in those transition times. He may use the time to build your character. He may strengthen you in times when you feel completely alone. Yet, it is God that will build us up and be beside us in these times of deep loneliness.
It's important during times of loneliness that we turn to God and away from ourselves. Loneliness can just be compounded by always thinking of ourselves first. Maybe getting out and helping others can help. Open yourself up to new connections. When you smile and have a positive attitude, people are drawn to you. And set yourself up in social situations like going to youth group or join a fellowship group or bible study.
Psalm 62:8 - "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us." (ESV)
Deuteronomy 31:6 - "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (ESV)
Even People in the Bible were Lonely
Think no one in the Bible experienced loneliness? Think again. David experienced profound moments of loneliness. He had times when he was being hunted by his own son and had to leave his own family. Many Psalms address his deep loneliness, and he often plead to God for mercy in those times.
Psalm 25:16-21 - "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you." (NIV)
Jesus, too, felt loneliness at times, more so when he was being persecuted and placed on a cross. A most painful time in his life. He felt God had abandoned him. His most faithful followers abandoned him in his hour of need. The people who followed him and loved him before he was crucified were no longer there for him. He knew exactly what it felt like to be alone, and so He know exactly what we go through when we feel loneliness.
Matthew 27:46 - "About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?' (which means 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?')." (NIV)