Sometimes loneliness feels like a deep, gnawing ache. Sometimes it feels like drowning. Either way, it’s one of the most painful experiences of this fallen world. A New Testament scholar once called it “the most dehumanizing thing one can ever experience.” So, my sister, my heart breaks for you. I hope to bring you some comfort.
The good news is that the pain of your loneliness communicates something that is theologically true: we were not made to be alone. Being human means being in relationship. This is because we are made in the image of God, who is relational in his very being. He is Triune. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit exist in an eternally blessed, overflowingly joyous and satisfied relationship of love with one another.
You, my sister, are created to also experience an eternally blessed, overflowingly joyous and satisfied relationship of love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the bad news is that there is a barrier to that relationship. It’s called sin.
You experience loneliness because man’s perfect communion with God was severed at the Fall on account of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against him. Everyone since then has experienced the pain and loneliness of that separation. Still more bad news is that your own personal sins have added to the dilemma. The Lord says in Isaiah, “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (59:2). And there is nothing you can do to make it right. It is the ultimate desperate and lonely situation.
But there is Good News: God, being rich in compassion and mercy, broke down the barrier, at great cost to himself. He laid all the sin that separated you from enjoying perfect fellowship with him upon the Son. And thus the cross became the loneliest place in the universe. Jesus, who had never once experienced the pain of separation from his heavenly Father cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) as his Father, having “eyes too pure to look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13) turns his face away from the One who “became a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). Jesus became a curse. He was de-humanized so that we could be truly human again and live in relationship with the Triune God.
My sister, turn to the One who knows loneliness better than anyone else. Don’t be like me, who too often tries to heal the gnawing ache and the suffocation of loneliness by turning to distractions, food, or to fantasies about how marriage will cure it all. Turn to the One who is the cure, to the One who embraces you in perfect, satisfying love. We live in a fallen world and will still experience loneliness, but we take comfort in knowing that God, in Christ, has broken down the barrier. If you ever doubt it, look to the cross. May our Lord bring you his peace and comfort in your time of deep emotional pain.
Love, your sis,
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.—Mark 15:38