"All the Lonely People," by America

"In November, a landlord entered the Bonn, Germany apartment of Wolfgang Dircks when rent invoices to Dircks' bank stopped being paid. The landlord found a skeleton in a chair in front of a television set (in the 'on' position but now out of order) and beside still-twinkling Christmas lights and a TV program guide from Dec. 5, 1993. Since no one had seen Dircks in years, authorities declared that to be his date of death."
-- Memphis Flyer, 12/22/98


"Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge; no one cares for my life."

Psalms 142:4

                             Copyright © 1996 by Diane S. Dew

   I.   Admitting loneliness is not a negative confession but an honest,
                                  often humbling expression of human need.

                                  A.  The desire for companionship is a legitimate need.

                                        1.  God Himself recognized fellowship as a valid need.

                                                    Gen 2:18 "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone...'"

                                        2.  Man was created a social being, with the need for others.

                                                     1 Cor 12:21 "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' ..."

                                        3.  We need look no further than the Godhead (the Trinity) Himself,

                                              in Whose image we were created. Man was created a tripartite
                                              being, with the capacity for
fellowship, even as the Spirit fellow-
                                             ships with the Son, and the Son with the Father.

                                  B.  The patriarch David, a very spiritual man ("after Mine own heart"),

                                        admitted feelings of loneliness and expressed them through writing and
                                        song, in his psalms - to which millions have looked for comfort in time
                                        of need.

                                                 Psa 25:16 "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely...."

                                                 Psa 102:7 "l lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof."

                                                 Psa 142:4 "Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have
                                                                        no refuge; no one cares for my life."


 II.  We can choose to take advantage of our time alone and embrace it with
                                   a godly purpose, as His provision for us. If we use it to spend time with

                                   Him, it can become a productive experience with positive results.

                                   A.   Time alone should be embraced as an opportunity for uninterrupted


                                          1.   Old age: widowhood.

                                                        1 Tim 5:5 "The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts
                                                                            her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God
                                                                            for help."

                                          2.   The life of Jesus.

                                                         Mk 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark Jesus
                                                           got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed"

                            B.  This should be often - as a habit, not a last result; as the rule, not
                                          the exception.

                                                          Luk 5:16 "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

                            C.  It is alone, in our place of deepest need, when we can turn to none

                                          other, that God meets us.

                                          l.   Spiritual blessing was imparted as the result of a spiritual battle

                                               fought alone.

                                                         Gen 32:24 "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him
                                                          till daybreak."

                             2.  Ministry may require much time alone with God.

                                                         Exo 24:2 "... but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others
                                                                            must not come near. And the people may not come up with him."

                                                               Mk 1:45 "Jesus ... stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people
                                                          still came to him from everywhere." [For more on the solitude of Jesus,
                                                               see also Section III-A.]

                                          3.  The Word of the Lord often is received alone, in the Presence of God.

                                                          1 Ki 19:9, 11 [Elijah] "went into a cave and spent the night. And
                                                                              the word of the Lord came to him.... The Lord said, 'Go out and stand
                                                                              on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to
                                                             pass by."

                                 4.  Visions are usually imparted when the individual is alone, as his spirit
fully directed and focused upon God.

                                                          Dan 10:8 "So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no
                                                          strength left, my face turned deathly pale..."

                               5.  Revelation is usually imparted while alone.

                                                         Mk 4:10, 34 "When he was alone, the Twelve and the others
                                                         around him asked him
about the parables ..."

                                                         Luk 9:36 "When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus
                                                         was alone ... when they
came down from the mountain, a large crowd
                                                         met them."

                               III.  To a degree, solitude is to be sought. (There is a difference between
                                      loneliness and aloneness.)

                                      A.  Jesus found it a necessity; how much more should we?

                                                    Mat 14:13 "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by
                                                    boat privately to a solitary place ..."

                                                         Mat 14:23 "After he had dismissed them, he went up on a
                                                      mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there

                                                         Mk 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus
                                                     got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

                                                          Mk 1:45 "Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed
                                                      outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from

                                                      Luk 4:42 "At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place..."

                                                      Luk 5:16 "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

                                                      Jn 6:15 "Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him
                                                      king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself ..."

                            B.  For those whose ministry is very demanding, it can take an effort to
                                          find time alone to meet with God.

                                         1.  Jesus often had to evade the crowds.

                                                      Mat 14:13 "When Jesus ... withdrew ... to a solitary place.. . the
                                                      crowds followed him on foot from the towns."

                                                            Mk 7:24 "Jesus... entered a house and did not want anyone to know it....."

                                                            Luk 4:42 "At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people
                                                       were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to
                                                        keep him from leaving them."

                             2.  His disciples faced similar obstacles, struggling to balance the demands
                                               of ministry with their own need for solitude.

                                                        Mk 6:30-32 "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to
                                                       him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were
                                                       coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said
                                                        to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'
                                                        So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place."

                            IV.   The causes of loneliness and rejection may vary.

                                     A.  Physical disease.

                                                    Lev 13:46 "As long as he has the infection he .... must live alone;
                                                    he must live outside the camp."

                             B.  Circumstantial difficulties - widowhood, childlessness, death
                                           of a loved one, family breakdown, etc.

                                                    1 Sam 1:2 "... Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none."

                                                                      Job 29:12 " ... the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless
                                                    who had none to assist him."

                                                         Psa 27:10 "Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will
                                                     receive me."

                                                         Eccl 4:8 "There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.
                                                    There was no end to his toil ... 'For whom am I toiling,' he asked ...
                                                    This too is meaningless ..."

                                                        1 Tim 5:5 "The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts
                                                    her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God
                                                    for help."

                             C.  The hand of God. (Sometimes it is God who has set us aside: "for

                                                    Psa 4:3 "Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
                                                     the Lord will hear when I call to him."

                            D.  Rejection and misunderstanding in ministry.

                                          1.  The prophet Jeremiah "sat alone" as a result of the critical message
                                               God gave him
to deliver.

                                                      Jer 15:17 "I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry
                                                      with them; I sat alone
because your hand was on me and you had
                                                      filled me with indignation."

                                           2.  The prophet Elijah felt so alone, he wanted to die.

                                                      1 Ki 19:3-5, 10, 14

                               3.  Paul was deserted by his coworkers in the gospel.

                                                      Acts 15:38 "But Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he
                                                      had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them
                                                      in the work."

                                                          2 Tim 1:15 "You know that everyone in the province of Asia has
                                                      deserted me ..."

                                                            2 Tim 4:10 "For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted
                                                      me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia,
                                                      and Titus to Dalmatia."

                                                           2 Tim 4:16 "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but
                                                      everyone deserted me..."

                                4.   Jesus was "despised and rejected of men."  Isa 53:3

                                               a.   The same crowd that one day "listened to him with delight"
                                                     (Mk 12:37) later "deserted him and fled" (Mk 14:50, cp.
                                                     Mat 26:56).

                                               b.   Throughout his ministry and, ultimately, on the cross, He
                                                     experienced absolute aloneness and rejection, even from
                                                     those closest to Him.

                                                                Psa 69:20 "Scorn has broken my heart and has left me
                                                                helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for
                                                                comforters, but I found none."

                                                                      Mk 14:54 "Peter followed him at a distance..." [and later
                                                                denied him: vv. 67, 71]

                                                                        Jn 8:59 "...they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus
                                                                 hid himself, slipping away ..."

                                                                      Jn 16:32; 1 Peter 2:4 "...rejected by men but chosen by God ..."

                                    5.   Believers can expect rejection by family and friends for their
regarding the gospel message.

                                                                 Mat 19:19 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers
                                                                 or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake
                                                                 will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."

                                                                 Luk 6:22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, when they
                                                                                       exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil,
                                                                                       because of the Son of Man."

                                                                 Jn 4:44 "Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has
                                                                 no honor in his own

                             V.  God has a solution for loneliness.

                                   A.  Draw near to God. (Scripture provides us with several spiritual

                                         1.  We are never truly alone.

                                                     Deut 31:6, 8 "Be strong and courageous... The Lord himself ... will be
                                                     with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you..."

                                                           Psa 22:1, 11, 16 "... My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
                                                      Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my
                                                      groaning? ... Do not be far from me,  for trouble is near and there is no
                                                      one to help...."

                                                           Jn 8:16, 29 "... I am not alone.... The one who sent me is with me; he
                                                      has not left me alone ..."

                                                          Jn 16:32 "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be
                                                      scattered,each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am
                                                      not alone, for my Father is with me."

                                                          Josh 1:5 "... As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never
                                                      leave you nor forsake you."

                                                           Jas 4:4 "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."

                                                           Heb 13:5 "... God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will
                                                                       I forsake you."

                              2.  God sees; He knows.

                                                          2 Ki 14:26 "The Lord had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel ...
                                                     was suffering; there was no one to help them."

                                      3.  God cares.

                                                       Psa 34:18; 55:22; 103:13

                                                          Psa 72:12 "For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who
                                                                      have no one to

                                                          Isa 41:17 "The poor and needy search ... But I the Lord will answer them;
                                                    I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them."

                                                          Isa 42:16 "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along
                                                    unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before
                                                    them and make the rough places smooth... I will not forsake them."

                                                         Isa 49:13-16 "... the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion
                                                    on his afflicted ones.  But Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord
                                                    has forgotten me.'  Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no
                                                    compassion on the child she as borne? Though she may forget, I will not
                                                    forget you!'...

                                                         1 Pet 5:7 "... Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you."

                                         4.  God alone can meet our deepest needs.

                                                          Psa 62:1 "... My soul finds rest in God alone..."

                                   5.  Jesus understands. (See Section IV-D4.)

                                                          Heb 2:18; Mk 15:34

                            B.  God's answer may be practical.

                                     1.  Family.

                                                                      Psa 68:6 "God sets the lonely in families..."

                                                     2.  Marriage.

                                                                      Gen 2:18 "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.
                                                     I will make a helper suitable for him."

                                                        Gen 24:67 "Isaac ... married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and
                                                     he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death."

                                            3.  Friendship.

                                                                       Eccl 4:10 "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the
                                                     man who falls and as no one to help him up!"

                                            4.  Ministry.

                                                                       2 Corin 7:6 "But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by
                                                      the coming of Titus."

                                                          2 Corin 1:3-7

                           VI.  The effects of loneliness.

                                  What we do when alone can have an eternal effect upon our life and the

                                   lives of others - either positive or negative, depending on our degree of
                                   self-discipline and the response of our spirit.

                                   A.  Negative experiences can yield positive results.

                                         1.  If the agony of loneliness drives us to seek God, to search for Him
                                              in the
Word, etc., we will find an inner strength upon which others
                                              will be able to draw.

                                                             2 Corin 1:3-7 "We can comfort others with the comfort wherewith
                                                       we are comforted of God"

                                         2.  David expressed his feelings of loneliness in song and poetry - which
blessed multitudes for centuries. Psa 25:16; 102:7; 142:4

                                         3.  The failure of others to meet our needs can emphasize our need for
                                              dependence upon God alone - essential for any successful ministry.

                                                                          Mat 14:23 "After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside
                                                        by himself to prayWhen evening came, he was there alone."

                                         4.  If, in our place of need, we direct our heart toward God and focus
                                              on the needs of others rather than self, we may find a special place
                                              of ministry in it Intercessory prayer, for example, requires much time
                                              alone. Ezek 22:30

                           B.  However, not all solitude yields a positive spiritual impact.

                                         1.  If we are driven to solitude, the source may be demonic.

                                                      Luk 8:29 "For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the
                                                    man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and
                                                    foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven
                                                    by the demon into solitary places."

                                      2.  Loneliness can lead to suicidal thoughts, even for the most spiritual
                                              of men.

                                                     a.   Job felt so misunderstood and rejected by his friends, he wanted
                                                     to die.

                                                                  Job 7:16 "I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone;
                                                            my days have no meaning."

                                                    b.  Elijah felt so alone he wanted to die.

                                                                  1 Ki 19:3-5 "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life ... he himself went
                                                             a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down
                                                             under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he
                                                             said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'"

                                                     c.  Because of his isolation, Jeremiah said he wished he had never been

                                                                     Jer 15:17 "I never sat in the company of revelers, never
                                                             made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me..."

                                                                     Jer 20:14-18 "Cursed be the day I was born! May the day
                                                             my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who
                                                             brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying,
                                                             'A child is born to you - a son!' ... For he did not kill me in the
                                                             womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever.
                                                             Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow
                                                             and to end my days in shame?"

                                                    d.  The psalmist expressed similar thoughts.

                                         3.  Loneliness can drain us of all incentive, if we allow it to warp our
                                              perspective and purpose for being.

                                                                        Eccl 4:8 "There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.
                                                                        There was no end to his toil ... 'For whom am I toiling,' he asked, 'and why
                                                                        am I depriving myself of enjoyment?' This too is meaningless - a miserable

                                                     4.  Spending too much time alone, with our "self," can throw us off balance.
                                                               (It is unnatural; man is a social being.) Evidence of this can be seen in
                                                               self-centeredness, self-pity, etc.

                                                     5.  It takes an inner determination and discipline of spirit to take the reins of
                                                               our mind, speak to our situation, and choose to praise God. Note the
                                                               repetitive commands of the psalmist to direct his heart toward God.  

                                                                    Psa 42:5, 6, 11; 43:5

                                                     6.  Satan offers many substitutes for temporary relief from the pain of
                                                               loneliness - alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, etc.

VII.  For some, loneliness and rejection may be a lifetime cross to bear. To a
                                         degree, it is part of the suffering promised every believer.

                                                                     Mat 16:24; 9:29
                                                                     Luk 6:22 "Blessed are you when men ... exclude you and insult you ..."
                                                                        Luk 9:23; 10:16; Jn 4:44

VIII.  Thinking we are independent of others and in need of no one is
                                            not a commendable trait, but evidence of a deeper spiritual problem.

                                              A.  It may be the result of spiritual or personal pride.

                                                       B.  An unwillingness to answer to anyone may stem from a root
                                                 of rebellion.

                                                       C.  A desire to remain anonymous may be motivated by a guilty
                                                                 conscience - not wanting  hidden sin to be discovered.

                                                        D. It is a deception of the enemy, to get us away from the rest of the flock
                                                                 so he can destroy us. Apart from the church, we will lack the provisions

                                                                 necessary for spiritual survival:  teaching, discipline, communal worship
                                                                and prayer, opportunities to serve others, etc.

                                                                1 Corin 12:21 "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you.'"
                                              Rom 14:19; Gal 6:2; Heb 10:24-26; Jas 5:16; 1 Thes 2:11, 12a

    Copyright © 1996 by Diane S. Dew.
 Scripture quotations taken from the New International Version.

"... He that followeth after Me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life!"
 (John 8:12)

Lonely?  Visit The Lighthouse Christian chat room

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Diane Dew
PO Box 340945
Milw. WI 53234


   Home Street Home   The true story of how faith in God can carry us through every situation in life, including unemployment, poverty, rejection of family and friends, even homelessness.  "The poor will always be with you," Jesus said. He himself was born in a barn, had no where to lay his head and, even in death, was buried in a borrowed tomb. Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee..." Jesus fed the hungry before he preached to them. This story should challenge the church to "awaken" from spiritual slumber and minister to the needy, the stranger, the widow and the orphan.  Cover story, Moody magazine, Feb. 1990.  

   A Love I Could Not Deny   The true story of how one suicidal teen met God in her darkest hour. Published in Moody magazine, Feb. 1987. 

   'The Backslider in Heart'  Every verse on the topic, in one outline. Includes: The causes of backsliding. Consequences for continually refusing to return. The conditional aspects of Christianity. Backsliders in Scripture. Safeguards. The recovery process. Responsibility to the backslider. God's call to return.  

Other studies in this series available from:  

D S Dew, P O Box 340945, Milwaukee, WI 53234


Misc. Facts on Loneliness:

If you feel lonely, you are not alone!  Over 23.6 million people in the U.S. live alone, according to US Census Bureau figures. (38% are elderly.) In 1950, 10% of households consisted of just one person. In 1994, this number has increased to 24%.

It was God (not a complaining Adam) who declared, "It is not good for the man to be alone..." And that was before the fall! 

Loneliness has long been the topic of poetry and song, whether rock, country, etc. From Janis Joplin's "All is Loneliness" to Yoko Ono's "Loneliness" (below),  the inner cry of the spirit is for fellowship. "No man is an island."
(Yoko Ono)

There are many things in life I can endure
One such thing is poverty
But loneliness, loneliness is one thing
I can't endure ...

How could I stand loneliness, loneliness
How're you supposed to cope with loneliness, loneliness
How would one live with loneliness, loneliness
Loneliness, loneliness ...

All is Loneliness
(Janis Joplin)

Every day when I walk home
I see loneliness been a-waiting for me, baby.
You know I open my front door,
I said Mr. Loneliness is waiting for me at home...

There ain't no hideaway from here, man ...
I ain't got no any kind of friends, man, I ain't got none...
When I come home there's nothing
Nothing, man, there's no animal moving,
There's nothing, man ...


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All Rights Reserved

Email: Diane@dianedew.com
Diane Dew  o  PO Box 340945  o  Milw WI 53234