The Art of Lonliness
There is a balance to being alone; we are people who are already in the not yet, therefore it’s only natural for us to crave something more than what we are receiving on Earth.
To be alone is defined within the Bible routinely, but being lonely is absent.
To be “alone” includes privacy; being without another person or being. To be “lonely” is to have an emotional absence of companionship or connection. While the difference between the two is small, it still exists.
In the New Testament, “alone” can be translated from the Greek root “monos” which means specifically to be alone, in private, or destitute of help. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “badad’ translates to separated or apart; forsaken by another. Yet, looking at Scriptures the Lord promises that he will not forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:6 states, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” See also Joshua 1:5, Romans 8:39, Matthew 11:28, and Isaiah 41:10.
Yet, we are not promised that we won’t be forsaken by others leaving opportunities for loneliness to be instilled within us. Still, God did not create fellowship to instill loneliness but fulfillment in biblical relations. Genesis 2:18 shows that God made a helper for Adam because it was not good for him to be alone. Ecclesiastes 4:10-11 also illustrates the constructive company of another follower of Christ. Fellowship was created for a reason, but so was privacy, and the opportunity to be alone with God. So how can we invite God into our feelings of isolation?
A quiet time is meant to be time alone with God. Jesus went to be alone with God often (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; John 6:15) to have the privacy and vulnerability with God that is necessary for every Christian.
Current world predicaments are encouraging loneliness in an already individualized time, so
we have to learn how to be alone correctly; the Bible has proven it to be good and bad depending on how you are spending your alone time, and what it causes you to feel. In other words, sometimes it necessary to be alone with God, but that doesn’t mean the feeling of isolation will accompany it always.
I believe there is a strong lack of intentionality today, a laziness to pursue each other (lost or saved), and encourage one another in the Kingdom of God. I am certainly not alone but I have experienced deep feelings of loneliness, especially in today's social climate. Yet, I am striving to find the art of loneliness because I seek what is eternal not who or what is temporary around me. I have come to learn that we are created to care for one another; we belong to one another as Romans 12:5 clearly states.
In the same way, we have to pursue being content and joyful and Christians, we also have to pursue fellowship and healthy alone time with God as an effort to combat such loneliness today.
– Paige Bronander, Ten2 2020 Participant & Storyteller