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The Antidote to Loneliness

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted .. I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

Psalm 25:16, 21

"It’s lonely living alone"

Heather caught up with a friend from school the other day…they walked, sipped coffee, and shared about all aspects of life, before this simple statement was uttered - "It’s lonely living alone..."

There are few issues that have such a devastating effect as loneliness (and by the way, if this post impacts you, please hit reply and reach out).

By and large, psychologists and counsellors agree that loneliness is Australia’s next epidemic. A 2018 survey of 1,678 people found that one in four (25%) Australians report feeling lonely three or more days every week, one in three (33%) Australians never or rarely feel like they belong to a group of friends, and half (50%) of all Australians feel lonely at least one day a week.

Very sobering (and alarming) statistics. These survey results also tells us that loneliness increases the likelihood of experiencing depression by 15% and anxiety by 13%. Loneliness also increases blood pressure, heightening the risk of stroke and heart disease.

UK journalist George Monbiot writes: “Isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; it’s twice as deadly as obesity. Dementia, high blood pressure, alcoholism and accidents—all these, like depression, paranoia, anxiety and suicide, become more prevalent when connections are cut. Evidently, we cannot cope alone.”

It’s affecting young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated. Even King David was well acquainted with it, and his honest cries to God are recorded in the Psalms (see above). You don’t always know it’s happening, because much of it takes place behind closed doors…but increasing numbers of people are touched by it.

Would you count yourself among this number? Please reach out to us, we’d love to connect...

Are you surprised by how many feel disconnected and alone? Please reach out to someone, they’d love to connect...

But what of the church? Is there an institution that can break the cycle of loneliness? Goodness, I hope so…

Our desperate hope as a Christian community is that we would be a people where you can love and be loved, serve and be served, care for and be cared for.

One of the bible’s favourite descriptions of the church is that of family…brothers and sisters in Christ, fathers and mothers in the faith; a community of love from every walk of life (Rom 8:12-17, Eph 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:9-10). We have all been adopted into the intimate, inclusive, interdependent family of God. We are a family that embraces people from every walk of life…a family that affirms the generations, celebrates our family resemblance & embraces individual distinctiveness.

I so desperately want the church to be part of the antidote to loneliness...

And perhaps there’s much that the church (and other aspects of society) can do to alleviate loneliness. But we need to point to the One who’s the ultimate solution to loneliness: ‘Emmanuel’—God with us. No matter how lonely or isolated we might feel, God Himself is with His people, bringing comfort and hope to our darkest nights: God’s Word says to us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Neb 13:5). God took on flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14) in the person of Jesus, and then Jesus promised that it was better that he left because he was sending the Spirit/Advocate (John 16:7) who is with us now.

Despite our loneliness telling us otherwise, as His beloved children, we are never alone.



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