Does God care when I’m lonely? That is the next question in our Does God Care series?
WE BEGIN IN SAMARIA
Jesus and the disciples were on their way to Galilee. Now most ‘good’ Jews went the long way to get there rather than go though Samaria. Why? Because Samaritans weren’t pure bred Jews. God’s love wasn’t for them! But, as always, Jesus wasn’t a racist and carried this ‘loving others’ too far. He decided to take the shorter route and rub elbows with these people.
I guess when condemning the Samaritans the Israelites conveniently forgot about Rahab.
This brave woman put her life on the line because she recognized that the God of Abraham was the one true God. Therefore, she helped the Israelite spies escape detection in Jericho. After the Israelites attacked her city, she was saved by the conquerors and converted to Judaism. She married an Israelite and is listed in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:5. Oh, and another inconvenient truth is Ruth, a Moabite, is also listed in the ancestry of Jesus!
THE WOMAN AT THE WELL
Well, it was bad enough Jesus and company were in Samaria, but while the disciples are getting food Jesus runs into a woman of ill-repute as he rests at Jacob’s well. Leave Jesus alone for a minute and trouble finds Him.
Most of us know the story. Her life was one of promiscuity and bad choices. Another reason to hate her. However, once again, Rahab ruins their theory. After all, Rahab’s life wasn’t exactly pure. She ran an inn in Jericho, which was not a particularly honorable profession in those days. It might indicate that she was a prostitute or perhaps a madam.
Moreover, the woman who found Jesus at the well was living with a man who was not her husband. Unfortunately, not scandalous today, but in New Testament times – disgraceful.
So, this woman probably had people around her, but she was still lonely and isolated. That is most likely why she went to the well in the heat of the day instead of morning and evening when the ‘reputable’ women fetched water.
A theological discussion ensued. Are you kidding me, Jesus? Having a deep discussion with any woman, especially this woman, was shocking. But Jesus knew that opening the door to true faith brings salvation and allowed her to share the Messiah with others.
Despite her behavior of avoidance, today she told everyone about this remarkable man she met. “Many of the Samaritans in that town believed because of what the woman said” (John 4:39 NCV). Her loneliness gone. She knew her Savior and was part of the fold.
SO, DOES GOD CARE WHEN I’M LONELY?
The answer is a resounding yes. Don’t think for a minute the encounter at the well was by chance.
Then there is the woman who bled for twelve years. This made her unclean and unable to go to the Temple and socialize normally. Jesus not only healed her, but took the time to look her in the eye and give her honor. (Mark 5: 25-29)
Then there were the ten, mostly ungrateful, lepers. Talk about lonely. Isolation was there entire life. Jesus healed them, knowing they would not be grateful for his benevolence. (Luke 17: 11-19)
And remember Mary Magdalene’s loneliness at the tomb? Her friend and teacher died. I love the visual when Jesus speaks to her. (John 20: 11-18)
WHAT DOES LONELY ACTUALLY MEAN?
The dictionary says it is a feeling people get when they are friendless and without companionship, but I don’t think that really describes loneliness. As mentioned above, the woman at the well probably had people in her life. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t lonely.
I don’t know about you, but I often feel lonely in a crowd. I think loneliness is when you don’t have people to connect with in life. You are facing grief, problems, sickness, without people who really care.
Unfortunately, many people who attend church regularly feel this way and that is a condemnation of the church. We say, hi, how are you? Or ask about the prayer chain request. Of course, we say we’ll pray or wish blessings on them, but are we really there for others?
SO, WHAT IS THE ANWER TO LONELINESS?
In reality the answer is summed up in one Scripture, Ephesians 4:2b: ‘bear with one another in love.’ Sounds simple, but it is a tall order.
The answer to the question, does God care when I’m lonely is a resounding YES. However, the prescription for this malady is us – caring human beings. It is His answer for many problems. We are to visit those in prison, take care of the sick, show compassion, be patient, and forgive others. Spend time with the lonely like Jesus did. It will cure their loneliness and ours at the same time.
READY, SET, GO AWAY FROM LONELINESS
Click here for some Scriptures that will help you during lonely times. But don’t just read them, act on Jesus’ example. Reach out to the lonely for your own sake as well at their emotional health.
Share in comments times of loneliness in your life and how you overcame. You can also request prayer, suggest a Bible story to read, a biblical woman to study, or tell us about a time you helped another out of loneliness.