We live in a highly connected world but despite all the social media, this generation seems to be lonelier than ever. Articles have been written on this issue, but what does the Bible say about this? Do Christians not struggle? How is the Christian to deal with this struggle? This blog post takes a different form from our usual articles. It adopts a more reflective tone written from one who struggles, to another one who is struggling. 

Dear E,

I wanted to write since I can’t be there to take you out/visit/ pray with you in person. I am praying for you, and I know that it’s nothing I say that really changes anything, God gives the growth. I have faith in His mercy, and full confidence that he will save you; don’t harden your heart.

I’ve shared already how I felt when I was in a situation similar to yours. You know I’m much better now, but I’ve also learnt that one does not simply dance through life – real dancers know that behind amazing performances lie long hours of practice and (dare I say it?)…pain. It’s the same with growth it seems. God has used this season of loneliness in my life to draw me to Him, and man is it worth it.

When I came here I felt like no one really knew me. I decided that being by myself would be easier and so insisted I was happy as a lone world explorer. It was okay for a while but when being alone becomes your permanent default and loses its off button it can get very lonely, and being lonely is miserable. I know sometimes you feel like you are all alone too and it hurts. It’s tempting to not let on about the inner ache, and tell our closest companions to forsake us. Screw it, I’m so _____, why would anyone want to walk this sad road with me? Like Naomi in the book of Ruth we put our defenses up (Ruth 1:11-12). Trust me when I said that our hard outer shell is a poor cover up for our inside, which cries out see me, save me, know me!

E, I must tell you, our God saves. I know He has the power to take you out of where you are at too, if you are willing to turn from your old ways and turn to Him. One day I came home, tired and frustrated of all the disappointments that had been building up since I arrived and my powerlessness to change my day to day existence. I went straight to my room, fell on my bed and burst into tears – I missed my friends and my old life! In my need, Jesus found me. For some unknown reason, I reached for my Bible. I had remembered a time not too long ago when I had gotten completely lost in the woods. I remembered God had brought me back to run his race through the strong power of his words in a little book of the Bible called Ruth. I was desperate for the comfort of His presence again, so I clung to the words.

You and me can both be totally confident in God not to let us down or ever leave us because this is His nature. The book of Ruth is a story of God’s infinite kindness. In it, God shows His kindness to a very bitter woman whose family had left his promise land and wandered from him. Though Naomi felt despised and rejected by God (forgetting it was she who had left him), God saved her by providing a harvest, Ruth who stuck by Naomi and collected the harvest for her, bundles of food brought back home every day – little packets of grace. By the end of the story Boaz redeems them and brings them (literally) back into the family of God’s people by marrying Ruth, a kind action itself moved by Ruth’s kindness to Naomi. This chain of kindness where God, our Lord of the harvest, is the first mover, shows how God is kindness upon kindness, grace upon grace! Do we not see what great love the Father has lavished on us that we might be called children of God?

Look! While God shows abundant kindness to his people, these acts of grace are precisely that – undeserved and therefore unexpected. If we expect money in our bank accounts, friends and family who never let us down, life with no sickness and death, then we will not see health, provision, good relationships as gifts from God but as due! And if there are blips in our idea of our perfect life then we will protest the injustice of our right to a good life being violated. How dare God allow me to be unhappy! How dare He not give me what I want. Does God need to give us what we want? How much do we think we are worth?

The story ends with God giving Naomi’s family a son, who continues the line from which Jesus comes. God never stopped short of showing full kindness to his people; He knows that the greatest problem everyone faces is sin. How can we atone for our proud rejection of God, how can appease His just wrath that is against us who broke faith with him and went our own way? In a way I thank God that you’ve been brought this low, because it’s only when you see how twisted and wrong life and you too can be, that you know that all is not well.

Thanks be to God, He promised and fulfilled the ultimate act of kindness, one that satisfies and saves in a way no other gift can. God promised a Son who will take away the sins of the world! (John 1:29) A King whose kingdom is filled with feasting and rejoicing, not toil and condemnation! (Mark 2:19-22) A friend who loves his own till the end! (John 13:1) A Shepherd who never lets his sheep go! (John 10:28) The LORD who goes to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house (John 14:2). Immanuel, the God who came to be with us (Matt 1:21-23), who has authority over everything and changes eternal destinies. His name is Jesus. One day he will wipe away all our pain; one day we will all be together with the Lord forever; one day the dead will rise! One day there will be a great judgement and Christians will shout for joy because the gospel of Jesus Christ has saved us from eternal death. God will pass over our offences by looking at his Son’s death on the cross.

Where God is, there cannot be sin for He is perfect but one day we will walk with him and fear nothing; He will have finished his work in us and we will be perfect. It will be great, for God is so so so kind – you will love love love him. Even today the book of Jonah reminded me that God is a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster (Jonah 4:2). He relents from disaster if we put our trust in him!

So E, trust in the LORD and love Him with your heart and soul but also your mind. Train your anxious thoughts by getting to know our Father. He is the only sure foundation on which we can rebuild our lives. Read of his character and deeds in the bible. Meditate on its words. Pray – and text me all your questions! Do not hold on to mere comfort E, it is a quagmire that sucks you deeper in till you no longer see the light of true day. I think you know this. Now you must have faith to step out into the sun again and this time step right over your old self the life you once lived!

Trust me; there is no other way to live.

Love, H.

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
(Isaiah 40:6-8)

Written by Hannah Yeo.