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Series 2 - Bible Answers for...

Hi, friends! Thank you for choosing to study this Bible lesson with us. This lesson is about coping with loneliness. This is a challenge we all face to some extent, and many people have experienced deep and painful loneliness. The prevalence of loneliness is seen in many songs that have been popular over the years:

"Are you lonesome tonight...?"

"I'm so lonesome I could die."

"Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight. Only the lonely know this feeling..."

The Bible has practical solutions for the problems we face in our lives. God wants us all to have underlying joy and fulfillment even when we are experiencing sadness and loneliness! That's difficult when you feel alone and it seems that no one cares.

First of all, please don't feel you are weak or weird because you feel lonely. There's no need to feel ashamed of your loneliness. In fact, if you find one or two friends to talk with about it, you will probably find that they feel lonely also (or have at one time or another), and you can encourage each other. Also remember that God wants to be your best friend—He wants you to talk with Him about everything. And as your relationship with God becomes stronger and more intimate, you will feel less loneliness.

So let's continue our look at the practical answers the Bible provides to life's challenges. As always, be sure to let us know if you find these studies helpful and if you need additional counseling or information. We are ready to help in any way we can!

Lesson: Coping With Loneliness

Bible Study - Coping With LonelinessWhen we're lonely, we want it to go away, but too often we find it keeps coming back. What help does the Bible give for dealing with loneliness and the depression that too often goes with it?

Consider this short story from a recently widowed lady:

"On Jan. 5 I discovered what true loneliness was. You see, on that day my husband of over 37 years died. On that day, I felt as though I had also died; yet, here I was still alive. There was now a huge void in my life. Since I was still alive, I knew that it meant I needed to go on. In order to do that, I began to look around our congregations. I saw many widows and widowers. There were also many other members who, for one reason or another, were alone. As much as I missed the conversations with my husband, I soon realized that perhaps these others might also be starved for conversation.

"So I came up with a plan. Whenever I began to feel lonely, I would call someone. Hearing the voice of a friend has helped me. If you ever find yourself feeling lonely, try these tips:

1. Pick up the phone and call someone.
2. Send a card to someone.
3. Visit someone—especially those who may be homebound or in a nursing home.

"By taking your mind off of self and onto others, you will soon realize how very beneficial it is.

"Even if you are not lonely, follow the above tips and call, visit or send a card to someone who is alone. Take it from someone who has been on the receiving end, that it is very much appreciated to know that others remember and care for you! It really does help keep loneliness at bay."

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What Does the Bible Say About Coping With Loneliness?

The Bible is God's instruction manual for life. It provides the answers we need and gives us comfort, peace and hope for a brighter tomorrow. God inspired it to be profitable and beneficial for us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Can the Bible really show us how to experience less loneliness—regardless of our situation? And does the Bible show us how to have joy and success in life and in our relationships in spite of being lonely? Let's look at some specific biblical principles that can help us cope with loneliness.

Did God design and create us to desire and need companionship, friendship and fellowship?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
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.

The implication is that two people are much stronger together than one person is alone. God designed us to want companionship and friendship and to find our greatest fulfillment in loving others. To feel alone and unloved hurts terribly. We want to help you to know how to cope with feeling lonely as long as that continues. Plus we want you to know what God will do to help you and what you can do for yourself—how you can reach out to others to build relationships.

Does God understand my loneliness?

Hebrews 4:14-16
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

First, God created us and all of our emotions, so He surely understands us. And Jesus experienced loneliness not just because He felt His Father had forsaken Him when He was on the cross. Just think, no other human being was converted or anywhere near His spiritual level, so their capacity for spiritual fellowship was quite shallow (John 2:24-25). No one was completely faithful to Jesus. His 11 disciples were the most committed, and even those 11 forsook Him at His greatest hour of need. So Jesus Christ has experienced every human emotion, and He knows what it's like to be lonely. Talk to Him about it!

Is it God's plan for us to have strong family relationships?

Genesis 2:18
And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

Psalm 68:5-6
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

After God created Adam, He knew that Adam needed someone to share his life with him. Adam was simply not complete being alone. Marriage is a divine institution ordained by God. Families become the natural place for us to have personal relationships with others and to know we are not alone. If you have family, be sure you connect and contribute to their happiness and peace. Many of us have dysfunctional families, but if we love them unconditionally (following God's example in Romans 5:8) and work to fulfill the needs of other family members, we often can improve the situation (Philippians 2:4).

But even if we don't have a physical family we can depend on, God says He "sets the solitary in families" (Psalm 68:6). His Church can be a spiritual family a hundred times larger than a physical family (Mark 10:29-30). God tells His Church to "consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:24-25). Above all, we can develop a close relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.

But I'm a widow and live alone. How can God help me feel better?

1 Timothy 5:5
Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.

If you are widowed and alone, put your trust in God. Talk to Him about your loneliness. Let Him know what your heart desires. Jesus Christ promises that whatever we ask in His name, according to His will, He will give to us (John 14:14; 1 John 5:14). Nothing is impossible for God (Mark 10:27).

I've been lonely for so long, why isn't God helping me?

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

James 4:8
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Sometimes God requires us to build character in ways we would not have chosen for ourselves. Coping with loneliness may be one of those ways God is allowing your character to be tested. Will we learn to be content with the blessings God has given us? Will we really believe God is with us and that we have not been left truly alone?

Remembering that God will never leave us can be much needed encouragement when we feel abandoned by others. And when we try to draw near to God, we can be assured that He will draw near to us.

How do I know God will really help me?

Isaiah 41:10
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.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

So often being alone brings feelings of fear and anxiety. Sometimes we feel helpless. Once again, we see the great God offering us the promise of strength and help regardless of the physical situations in which we find ourselves. Claim these promises!

My loneliness leads to anxiety and worry. What can I do to stop being afraid?

1 Peter 5:6-7
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Psalm 23:4-6
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Worry, fear, anxiety. All of these emotions can tear us down, cause depression and negatively reinforce feelings of loneliness. But our Father says He will take care of everything! He provides for the sparrows; He can certainly provide for us (Luke 12:6-7). God is a loving Father who loves us even more than any parent loves his or her little child. Learn to trust Him to care for every need you have.

Sometimes I wonder, What's the use? I feel despair and hopelessness.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 94:19
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.

Romans 15:4
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Loneliness is a condition that we must deal with. Continuing in a state of loneliness often leads to the even more serious condition of depression. Please don't think you have to cope by yourself. Please ask for help. God gives healing and comfort in many ways—through His Word, the Bible; through His Spirit; and through His intervention in our lives. And God often answers prayers by directing us to people who can help us. You can get help from trusted friends and your minister. If the problem is really serious and deep-seated, there are Christian counselors who can give professional help.

Does trusting God imply action on our part as well?

James 2:26
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

John 14:21
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Matthew 7:21
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."

We begin to see that some action is needed on our part. Yes, we learn to trust God to provide for our needs. If we expect Him to answer our prayers, to provide for our needs and to comfort us in times of loneliness, does He expect anything in return? The simple answer is yes! We not only should reach out to others to befriend and encourage them, but we also must believe God and we must do what He says to do. We must keep His Commandments. We must live by every Word of God. The entire Bible is written by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:16), so we must believe the Bible and live by it.

If I turn my attention to the needs of others, will my loneliness diminish?

Acts 9:36-41
At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.

Proverbs 12:25
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.

Perhaps Dorcas was a widow in the Church. In any event, she was known for doing good works for people and providing for the needs of others. This is a key principle for coping with loneliness. The Bible shows we should be aware of and provide for the needs of others in addition to our own (Philippians 2:4). Dorcas became sick and died, but God raised her from the dead! This miracle highlights her life as an incredible example for us to read about today. The obvious implication is that we should follow her example too. Helping others will take the focus off ourselves and will help cure the feelings of loneliness.

One thing we all are able to do is to speak good words of hope and encouragement to other people. Lifting others up can be uplifting to us as well.


Apply Now

What are some specific things you can do to cope with your loneliness? There are many circumstances that cause loneliness, so although this list is not comprehensive, it can provide some guidelines for your personal situation. Doing these things will help you make progress along the road out of loneliness.

  • Direct your thinking outward to others rather than thinking excessively about self.
  • Determine that you can control your own attitudes and emotions. Ask God for His Spirit of love and joy (Galatians 5:22).
  • Be friendly! Smile! Laugh! Positive actions and emotions are contagious and will encourage others to want to be around you (Proverbs 18:24).
  • Go to church and church activities and fellowship with others. Consider their needs and try to encourage and uplift them (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 John 1:3).
  • Participate in various activities. Be involved with others.
  • Adopt a pet from a shelter. A dog or cat will love you unconditionally!
  • Volunteer your service to others. There are various volunteer programs at hospitals, schools and libraries. Consider visiting a nursing home to cheer up the patients. You will soon have a different perspective about loneliness.
  • Learn new things. Develop a new hobby. Expand your interests. Engage in conversations with others about current events and common interests.
  • Use technology to be in touch. When used properly the Internet can be an amazing blessing for communication and interaction with others. E-mail, Facebook and Twitter can be fun!
  • Establish a circle of friends that you talk to on the phone. Include people who may also be in lonely situations. Make it your mission to help them. Ask your church pastor about shut-ins or those who could use extra encouragement. Every day you can help brighten someone else's day.
  • If you have deep loneliness and depression you can't pull out of, please seek help through counseling.

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Related Resources:

Confronting Loneliness

The Loneliness Trap

Are You Lonely? Reach Out and Touch Someone!

How to Overcome Loneliness

Video: The Dark Cloud of Depression

Depression: Ways to Win the Battle

Contact With God's People: A Key to Spiritual Success or Failure