The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.”
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Loneliness is a common experience. Whether young or old, single or married, we’re all prone to feeling alone. How do you experience loneliness?
Get a pen and note down how it feels. Which words capture your experience? Isolated? Vulnerable? Alone? Invisible? Discarded?
What is it that you’re wanting? To be understood? Known? Connected?
When we feel lonely we’re prone to believing false things about God: “He doesn’t care”; “He’s forgotten me”; “If he really loved me he’d give me a husband/wife/good friend.”
Behind these myths is a personal enemy, Satan, who wants nothing more than your destruction. He ‘prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone one to devour’ (1 Pet. 5:8). We’re called to resist him. To stand firm.
How do we stand firm? By knowing the God who cares for you and invites you to come to him in your loneliness (1 Pet. 5:7).
Camp out in Genesis 16. In this story we meet Hagar. She knew rejection. Isolation. Feeling utterly alone. Yet God pursues her. The angel of the Lord, speaks of her baby to be named Ishmael. Ismael means “the Lord hears” for God has heard Hagar’s misery (16:11). Hagar responds by giving God a name, “You are the God who sees me” (16:13).
This same God hears your misery. He sees you. Speak to him.
Go to God with what you’re feeling. Tell him about your pain and disappointment. Tell him about your desires for connection. He made you to know him and be known by him. He made you connect with others. He hears you. He sees you.
God invites us to wrestle with him. We’re not just meant to suck it up, pretend it’s all okay, put on our happy face. Jesus wrestled with God (Matthew 26:36-44). He took his distress to God. He wrestled with God’s bigger plan. He’s made the way for you to come to God as you are.
Psalm 13 may give you words to express what you’re feeling.
God meets us in our loneliness. He gives us himself. But he also gives us his family. The church is God’s family. A diverse group of people who struggle and were made to do life together.
God has given you unique gifts to use for the benefit of his people. He encourages you through the gifts of others. What’s the next step you can take to be involved with God’s family?