The Blessings of Loneliness
Loneliness had gripped me. In two years, five of my roommates were married, not to mention countless other friends, and I was tired of being left behind. At times I hurt so badly I would fall on my knees and beg God through tears to take my pain away. What I didn’t know then, was that God was using that pain to bring me to the sweetest love affair of my life, but it wasn’t by bringing me a man to fall in love with; it was by making me more like the Man who already loved me.
“Three times a bridesmaid, never a bride” rang in my ears. Although I was thrilled to stand beside some of the best women I have ever known, I still felt the fear of being left behind. I wondered what was wrong with me; I wondered what I could do to make myself more desirable; I wondered if I would be lonely forever.
Me, me, me… it was all I thought about. I tried to repair my inadequacies by reading Christian self-help books — how to prepare for marriage and motherhood and how to understand men. It was all really good information, but it didn’t fill my void of loneliness.
One night, I got down on my knees and cried out to God that he would take my pain away. I was so tired of being unwanted and without love. As I lay there, crumpled on the floor, He reminded me of 1 John 4:8 that says, “God is love.” I knew in my heart that if I wanted to experience true love, I needed to concentrate on my relationship with Him, not on a relationship of this world.
I turned my reading to the Scriptures, as I wanted to know the very heart of the Lord. As John 1:1 says, “…The Word was with God, and Word was God.” I started at Genesis and read my way through the entire Bible. In it, I found nothing but the love of God for His people and specifically for me. I knew I was imperfect, but I found in Psalms 139:13-16, that He created me, knew me, and loved me just as I was.
"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them."
It was that love that drew me closer to the heart of God. And the closer I got to Him, the more His light revealed the selfishness I was covered with. The Lord didn’t take my pain away, but He used it to refine my life, just as fire purifies gold (Malachi 3:3).
Loneliness became a reminder of the cross, the sacrifice of my own desires for those of the Lord. Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24-25, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
It wasn’t until I embraced the cross and the death of myself that I finally realized that life wasn’t about my desires, but it was about showing the love of Christ to others. The pain I went through allowed me to identify with others’ pain and to counsel many women through feelings of loneliness, rejection, inadequacy, and the pain of broken relationships.
Loneliness became a tool that enabled me to have the time to make lunch appointments with other women who needed counsel, start Bible studies, memorize Scripture, pray for long periods of time, and read, read, read. It was a luxury, not afforded to those in serious relationships or marriages.
As Paul says, “The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:34). I had been given a great gift, and it was given to me at the lowest point in my life.
So many Christians forget that God calls us to the low places. He calls us to be lowly (Psalm 138:6), to be humble (James 4:6), to be meek (Matthew 4:5 KJV). He even calls us to die (Romans 6:3-5). None of these come easily, and they often require pain. But we’ve been promised recognition, grace, inheritance, and everlasting life in return.
The popular Christian music group Caedmon’s Call sings a song called “Valleys Fill First” that points out that when the rain falls, the water flows to the lowest places, filling the valleys first. The blood of Christ was meant to flow to those who are hurting and struggling. Jesus said, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick” (Luke 5:31).
I was one who felt His healing touch in my life. Even though I was lonely, in an earthly sense, the void was more than filled, even overflowing, with satisfaction and a sense of belonging.
My time of hurting lasted about two years, and then God chose to release me. About the time my pain ended, and I was satisfied with my single status, God brought me the man that I would eventually marry.
I am happy where I am, and I’m grateful for the blessing of the man that God has provided — he truly is everything I had ever longed for. But there are days when I miss the blessing of loneliness. Those were days when I was forced to seek my intimacy in the Lord, and they were indeed sweet days.
I pray now for others who are in that place that they, too, would have a life-changing experience caused by the pain of loneliness. My advice to every lonely heart, single or not, is this: love the Lord, seek His face, read His word, and share His love with others. And you will experience the blessing of loneliness.