For many years my dear friend, Carlye, has said, “If I could have another child and if she were a girl, I’d name her January because January is my favorite month of the year.”

January is Carlye’s favorite month because she’s learned November and December can really be difficult. Two big holidays, lots of family with extra responsibilities, longer nights, cold, gloomy weather, and all those unrealistic Hallmark card expectations can deliver months of discouragement and loneliness for the soul.

Carlye is not alone. We can battle loneliness all year long, but the Christmas season has a way of highlighting where each lonely thread is woven into our lives.

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We are the most technologically connected generation to live on the planet, but researchers say our culture has become the most disconnected, socially isolated, loneliest community of people ever. [1] I can’t speak from years of research, but most of the people I know would agree, we are such a lonely bunch. A psalmist wrote:

I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places; I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop. —Psalm 102:6-7

Ever known what it feels like to be the desert owl in the wilderness? To lay wide-awake through the night? To go through the motions of one more day, lonely as a sparrow on the rooftop? I have. I bet you have too.

Read what Spurgeon wrote about loneliness:

No Believer traverses all the road to heaven in company. There must be lonely spots here and there, though the greater part of our heavenward pilgrimage is made cheerful by the society of fellow travelers. Christ’s sheep love to go in flocks. We take sweet counsel together and walk to the House of God in company. Yet somewhere or other on the road, every Christian will find narrow paths and close places where pilgrims must march in single file. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon [2]

Don’t you love the picture this vivid description gives? There are times we will walk single file. When I keep looking at this picture in my mind, I see that we may be walking single file for a season, but still in the company of believers. Believers in front. Believers behind. All still going home to be with the Lord. That’s the kind of loneliness we can experience as believers, but can you imagine what lonely must be like apart from Jesus? I shudder at the thought of such a desperate place.

I want you to know that for the Christian, God is stronger than any loneliness we will ever face. From His strength, God made a promise to us:

I will never leave you nor forsake you. —Hebrews 13:5

Greek scholars tell us that our English Bibles don’t translate the full weight of this verse. I’ll put all the explanations to the side so you can whip out your Greek Testament, but mainly I want you to see this verse, re-written with the force the original language intended:

I will not, I will not, I will not let you down, leave you in a lurch, leave you destitute, leave you in straits or helpless, or abandon you. —Hebrews 13:5

God speaks to us here with layered, elaborate Greek language to reaffirm and guarantee His promise. The believer will have His gracious presence in life, at death, and forever. We may struggle with times of loneliness, but this promise always holds, lonely but never forsaken by God.

And so, my friend, we may become lonely on this journey toward home. This Christmas season might contain even more lonely triggers, but we much hold onto God’s promise. We are not alone. God will never leave us. He is stronger than every lonely moment you and I will face.

May His presence be tangible to you. May the strength of His promise sustain you. And hold you. And give you great hope when this world disappoints.

We belong to the God who is stronger than loneliness. Oh hallelujah and amen.


[1] You can read more about this research in a book called, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam, c.2001, Touchstone Books.
[2] Spurgeon, Charles Haddon., A sermon delivered on Sunday Morning, October 26, 1862, #477, entitled Never, Never, Never, Never, Never.

Angela Thomas is a Bible teacher, national speaker, and best-selling author of books and Bible studies for women. Her latest study, Stronger: Finding Hope in Fragile Places, is a seven-session study that teaches women that God is stronger than any struggle they’ll face. Click here for a sample!

Comments

  1. Bonnie Coey says:

    Such a joy to know our GOD will never leave us

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