Tag Archives: loneliness
Do you agree with Ortberg that we are often lonely but rarely alone? Could it be that loneliness can be a positive challenge to deepen our relationship with the Lord? Scripture gives examples of those who felt abandoned by God, who were painfully lonely, thinking the Lord had departed from them. If the Lord withdrew a sense of His presence from you, would you miss Him? Would I?
Let me back up a bit. This year it looks like I’ll be writing two books on friendship. One will be on being a friend of sinners like Jesus was (Mt. 11:19); the other on friendship in general. But what do I care about friendships? I’m an introvert. I’m perfectly happy by myself and my laptop and my dog and occasional visits by my wife.
And that’s what’s funny. God calling me to study and write about relationships. But I need to. And I’ll do my best.
In these posts we’ve noticed that the human being is not the creator of relationships, but our Trinitarian God who has always been in a love relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And the Christian gospel is that because of Christ we can enter into that connection, that friendship, with God Himself!
Why did God create Adam? Not for any lack in God, but for His glory. God creates Adam, sees that His creation is “good” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25), and then declares that what He had made was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). After His rest on the seventh day, the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and placed him in the Garden to take care of it. God gave Adam work to do in the Garden and a simple command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:15ff).
God assigns Adam the work of naming all the animals after declaring, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:17). Don’t skip over those words too quickly. “It is not good . . .” Something in God’s good creation was not good. And it was that Adam had no human counterpart.
One of my seminary colleagues laughs at me when I suggest that Adam’s naming of the animals was the means by which God convinced Adam that he needed a human counterpart. “Let’s see,” Adam might have said. “Let’s name you Mr. and Mrs. Giraffe. And you two we’ll name Mr. and Mrs. Hippopotamus . . .” It is as if Adam needed to see that for him “no suitable helper [was] found” (Gen. 2:20). So God creates Eve from one of Adam’s ribs.
But Adam had been in perfect fellowship with God! Just Adam and his Creator. However, God saw that Adam was lonely. He needed a human counterpart. We need other human beings in our lives.
Sin, of course, marred everything. After Adam and Eve’s rebellion is confronted by the Lord, Adam actually blames God for bringing Eve into existence (and leading him into sin)!
But let’s not miss the critical point that Adam, in the perfect environment of the Garden, before sin, is lonely. He needs a human counterpart. And God provides Eve. I sometimes catch myself humming the words to the old praise chorus “Just Jesus and Me” (obviously written by an introvert). We were made for relationships — and not just with our Creator!
May I ask you a favor? Would you pray for me and these two writing projects at least once a week over the next few months? If you agree to do this, you may let me know privately through my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or publicly in the comment section below. THANKS!
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!