A few years ago a beautiful young Hollywood star, with apparently everything a young woman could want, ended her life. In the brief note that she left was an incredibly simple explanation—she was unbearably lonely.
After the death of her husband, Queen Victoria of England said, “There is no one left to call me Victoria.” Even though she was a queen, she knew what it meant to be lonely.
H. G. Wells said on his birthday, “I am 65, and I am lonely and have never found peace.”
The Psalmist said, “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery”(Psalm 31:12, NIV).
First, there is the loneliness of solitude.
The sentry standing duty alone at an outpost, the thousands in mental institutions, and those in solitary confinement in prisons and concentration camps know the loneliness of solitude. Louis Zamperini, the great Olympic track star, told of the loneliness of solitude on a life raft where he spent 47 days during World War II.
The second loneliness is the loneliness of society.
That poor person living in the dingy apartment who never receives a letter, who never hears one word of encouragement, who never experiences the handclasp of a friend—that wealthy society leader whose money has bought everything but love and happiness—each knows a loneliness few can understand.
In John 5, we read about Jesus as He winds His way through the narrow streets of Jerusalem. When He reaches the pool of Bethesda, He observes the great multitudes plagued with various infirmities, waiting to be moved into the water. Suddenly He notices a poor man who seems more needy than all the rest, and tenderly He asks, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6, NIV).
The helpless paralytic looks up and answers, “Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred” (Cf. John 5:7). Think of it: For 38 long, weary, doleful years this man had been buffeted by the surging human tide of Jerusalem, and after all these years he must say to Jesus, “Sir, I have no one.” He was absolutely friendless.
You can have a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Jesus Christ can make life joyful, satisfying and glorious to you. There is not a city in North America that does not have a warm church to which you could go and meet the most wonderful people. There is a giant network of born-again Christians in every community. The moment you clasp their hands, you know that you have friends.
But you must repent, surrender and commit your heart and life to Christ. Let Him forgive your past sins, and He will take you into His family; He will bring you to the hearth, and you will feel the warmth of the fire. If you are lonely today, I beg you, come to Christ and know the fellowship that He brings.
Third, there is the loneliness of suffering.
Some time ago we received a letter from a radio listener who for five years had been crippled into a sitting position by arthritis. For five painful years she was unable to stretch out or to lie down, yet she wrote, “I have spent many a day alone, but never a lonely day.” Why? It was Christ who made the difference. With Christ as your Savior and constant Companion, you, too—although alone—need never be lonely.
Fourth, there is the loneliness of sorrow.
In John 11, we read of Mary and Martha. Lazarus, their brother, was dead. Jesus had not yet come. They stood beside his body and wept.
For you, too, perhaps the world has become a vast cemetery containing but one grave. You have stood in the sick room and watched the one dearer than all the world to you slip beyond your reach.
You crave fellowship. You want someone to come along with a helping hand to wipe the tears away, put the smile back on your face and give you joy through the sorrow. Jesus can do just that. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). God loves His children. If you are willing to trust Him and give yourself to Him, He can carry your sorrow.
Fifth, there is the loneliness of sin.
In John 13, we find the story of the Last Supper. Jesus prophesies the betrayal of Judas. In amazement, the innocent disciples look at one another. John asks, “Lord, who is it?” And Jesus says, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish” (John 13:25-26, NIV). And when He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot. Then we are told that Satan entered into Judas.
Immediately Jesus said, “What you are about to do, do quickly” (John 13:27, NIV). And the Bible says, “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night” (John 13:30, NIV). He went out—out from the presence of Christ—and it was night.
Perhaps you at one time knew the joy and peace of being born into God’s family. You knew the sweet fellowship of God’s people. You knew the happiness and satisfaction of Christ’s presence with you, but you sinned. You went out from the presence of Christ, and you have found that it is night. You have neither the fellowship of Christians nor the fellowship of sinners. Perhaps there is no loneliness quite so bitter as the loneliness of a backslidden Christian.
For all of those who travel the pathway of sin, there is an engulfing pall of night that isolates them from all good and true fellowship. Sin always has been darkness. Sin always will be darkness. Every sin you deliberately cling to is a mighty power in making you lonely. The older you get, the lonelier you will be. I beg you, come to the foot of the Cross and confess that you are a sinner. Forsake your sins.
Christ can give you power to overcome every sin and habit in your life. He can break the ropes, fetters and chains of sin, but you must repent, confess, commit and surrender yourself to Him first. Right now, it can be settled, and you can know the peace, joy and fellowship of Christ.
Last, there is the loneliness of the Savior.
There was great joy at the Passover season, but Jesus was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:3-6, NIV).
Jesus was alone. He had come to His own, and His own did not receive Him. When He was being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, we are told that “all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56, NIV).
The crowds who had so recently shouted, “Hosanna,” would soon shout, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Matthew 21:9, 27:22-23, NIV). Now even His loyal 12 had left.
And at last we hear Him cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34, NIV). Not only had He been forsaken by His human companions, but now in that desperate and lonely hour, He—because He was bearing our sins in His own body on the cross—had been forsaken by God. Jesus was enduring the suffering and judgment of hell for you and for me.
Hell, essentially, is separation from God. Hell is the loneliest place in the universe. Jesus suffered its agony for you, in your place. Now God says, “Repent, believe on Christ, receive Christ, and you will never know the sorrow, the loneliness and the agony of hell.”
And God promises, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13, NIV). Will you call on Him today?