You Already Have a Best Friend
You might be thinking, “Jeff, you don’t understand my situation. I’m so lonely that I have trouble getting out of bed.” Even if I can’t relate, Jesus can. Hebrews 4:15-16 promises, “For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. ... Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it” (New Century Version). None of us can foresee how God will satisfy our needs, but the Bible promises that He will. Therefore, when you feel lonely, remember that the Lord is your best friend.
Some time ago, I found myself struggling with a particular issue. I really needed someone to talk to. I knew that I was supposed to go to God, but when I thought of Him as the “Great King on that heavenly throne,” I shied away. I thought to myself, “I can’t talk to Him about something like this. He’s not going to like what I’m struggling with.” My issue wasn’t something you’d easily talk about with your dad; even the best dad. What I needed was a friend. And in that moment, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Jeff, I’m a Friend. You can talk to Me. I’m a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. ... I’m not your Condemner; I’m your Wonderful Counselor and Friend.”
On some level, most of us have been reluctant to take our real-life struggles (such as the aches of our loneliness) to God. People sometimes assume that they need to be (or should pretend to be) perfect when they go to God. But Psalm 37:23 states, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (New Living Translation). And “every detail” includes our mistakes and heartbreaks.
Begin to Notice
Lonely people tend to lose sight of their purpose. They forget that they’re on earth to be a vessel that God works through. Accordingly, don’t allow your focus to shift from serving God to serving self-pity. If you find yourself constantly thinking, “Nobody ever calls me ... Nobody ever comes to see me ... Nobody cares for me,” then you’re falling into the self-pity trap. It’s essential that you take your eyes off yourself, and begin to notice the hurting people around you. In Luke 6:38, Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you” (New International Version). As strange as it may seem, giving will help you escape loneliness. If you sow seeds of friendship, you’ll reap a crop of friends.
I heard a true story about an elderly lady, a shut-in, who had lost her husband, had no family, and spent most of her time alone. She couldn’t get out, could no longer make it to church, and began to feel crushed by loneliness. One day she prayed, “Lord, I’m so lonely, and no one ever calls or comes to see me. I’m out of the flow of church, so people don’t really know me anymore or even remember me. It’s just so devastating to live out my life this way.” But she went on to say, “God, I know You’re not done with me yet. If You were done with me, then You would call me home. So, Lord, I know You still have something for me to do.”
After her prayer, the woman felt that God wanted her to pray for the people in her church, and to write a few notes of encouragement. She pulled out her church pictorial directory, combed through it, and prayed for the individuals and families. She also created little notes, and mailed them to those people. Not long after, something amazing happened: The woman started to get notes back. Her phone began to ring. People began dropping by her home for visits. She never asked or even hinted for any of that. She never told anyone about her feelings of isolation. She simply began to take an interest in other people, and allowed the Lord to use her. As the woman did this, her loneliness melted away – and love came back to her in a hundred different ways.