“At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear…”
-2 Timothy 4:16-17
By just mentioning the word loneliness, a very difficult and painful emotion can be triggered in your life.
Think for a minute of a person who’s just been through a divorce.
Or think about someone who’s been put in prison for a long time. Or think of a widow who sits lonely at her dinner table because she misses her husband who’s passed away.
What these people and many others in various situations have in common is that they are experiencing a very intense, and indescribable feeling of pain caused by their loneliness.
Likewise in your Christian walk, you’re sometimes going to find yourself going through a season of loneliness.
Watch Out Because You’re Vulnerable
It’s important that you’re aware that in these periods of times in your life, that you’re the most vulnerable.
That’s when the enemy will come at you with full power, in hopes of dragging you down.
It’s during these times that we must be closest to our Lord Jesus Christ, even though it’s during these times when we feel the least motivated to do so.
That’s why our communion with God has to increase in intensity because that’s the only way we’re going to be motivated to push forward.
Through that communion with God, we’re going to receive His strength to endure the pain and agony that comes with loneliness.
As we read the opening passage, we can perceive how Paul the Apostle, who was facing imprisonment, was going through a difficult time of abandonment and betrayal from some of his closest friends.
Most importantly, we see how Paul mentions that in his darkest moment when nobody was with him, the Lord stood and delivered him.
Times When You’ll Experience Loneliness
You’ll experience loneliness when those loved ones, who are the closest to you are no longer a part of your life.
Additionally, you’ll experience loneliness when the circumstances of life force us to leave those who we love the most.
This is shown in the life of Paul during his imprisonment.
Paul mentions the necessity he had for the company of Timothy, and he asks him to bring Mark along with him.
The reason Paul desires this company is because his closest friends that labored along with him for the gospel went their own way.
Solomon offers some wise words about this subject:
Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NKJV
For the same reason, God created a woman after He said “it is not good that man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
Another time you’ll experience loneliness is when you find yourself yearning for past memories.
Going back to Paul, he mentions the memory he had during his first voyage where everybody forsook him.
However, it’s of great importance we note that Paul, instead of letting those memories overtake him with depression, he instantly establishes how God was with Him.
In the same way, we can’t let painful memories of abandonment, betrayal, and departure destroy our lives. It’ll cause us to fall into depression and bitterness.
Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Dual Benefits of Loneliness
1. Loneliness Makes You Conscious of the Value of Other People
It’s interesting how Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark with him because he was a useful person for Paul’s ministry.
The reasons why that’s interesting is because Paul, in one of his previous missionary voyages, refused to take Mark with him.
That incident caused Paul and Barnabas to have a sharp contention that split their ministries.
This was because Mark had abandoned them because he was afraid. (Acts 15: 36-39)
Now Paul has changed his mind about Mark, and in his pain and loneliness, asks for his presence.
2. Loneliness Forces Us to Turn to God
Let’s take the example of Jesus prophesying about his last hours:
“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32)
Jesus, even though he knew he was going to be abandoned in loneliness, He was secured in His awareness of God’s presence in His life.
3 Lessons That Will Help You Overcome Loneliness
As we revisit the life of Paul during his imprisonment, we can extract some important things we must do to defeat loneliness in our lives.
1. Paul was diligent to find a company of fellow believers to hang around with. (2 Timothy 4: 9-12)
It’s of essential importance for us as believers to seek the support of brothers and sisters to overcome our loneliness.
2. Paul attempted to take care of his body as he asked Timothy to bring his cloak. (2 Timothy 4:13)
Many times when someone is experiencing loneliness, that person will begin to neglect their health.
When we experience this difficult emotion, we should always stay healthy as our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
3. Paul sought to increase his knowledge of God through the scriptures. (2 Timothy 4: 13)
Since the enemy will target our mind in order to get us to feel hopeless, then the Word of God is our shield against that attack.
We conclude with the comforting Words of God that reminds us that even if we feel alone, we are not alone:
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)