Turn Loneliness Into Solitude

Mother Teresa once said, "The biggest disease today is not leprosy or cancer. It's the feeling of being uncared for, unwanted, of being deserted and alone."

Leonard Sweet, pastor and author, tells a story about a certain Native American tribe who had a unique way of training young braves. On the night of a boy's 13th birthday, he was led out into the wilderness to spend the night alone. Most young braves, at this time in their lives, had never been away from the security of their elders. Yet on this night, these young teenagers were blindfolded and taken miles away. When each one took off his blindfold, he found himself in the middle of the woods. Alone. Dependent on nothing but the good will of the Great Spirit, and his own survival training.


We can well imagine what a lonely and terrifying night that was for these young boys. Imagination magnified every woodland sound, until it seemed like a fearsome monster.

But then, finally, each young brave managed to get to sleep. When dawn broke, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked around. What he saw was an amazing sight - a tall man, standing just a few feet away, armed with bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long, weapons at the ready: watching over his son as he slept.

In all of our lives, some fear must intrude. There are indeed times when loneliness and thick darkness surrounds us, and we may justifiably wonder if we'll ever see daylight again. Yet even in times of loneliness and despair - especially in times of loneliness and despair - we are not alone. God is there, waiting beside us, to watch over us and protect us.

What if we could treat these times of loneliness as times of solitude? John Ortberg once said, "Every character of great spiritual development in Scripture is marked by solitude." God is there with us, even when we are alone. Only if we could use these alone times as time with God.

The psalmist writes: "I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!" (Psalm 121:1-2, NLT)

We all have had ample times of loneliness in our lives. I'm sure, many of those times have come the last two years during the pandemic.

In those times of loneliness, look at the grandeur of the mountains. (From seeing your Facebook posts, some of you love to look at the vastness of the oceans instead (from the beach)!) Know that your God created them. Know that as He created - He created you. He loves you. He will care for you. He is with you, especially in your loneliness. Turn your loneliness into a time of solitude, be with God, and know that God wants to be with you.

Grace and hope to you,
Pastor Doug