5 Biblical strategies for coping with loneliness
Feeling isolated and alone right now? God wants you to know this.
God never created us to endure life on our own.
But since we live in an imperfect world – including unstoppable viruses, broken relationships, and heartbreak – there may come times when life leaves us feeling lonely, abandon, and forgotten. When this happens, how can we approach these lonely seasons and face this suffering from a biblical viewpoint?
1. Find strength in Jesus, remembering that He experienced loneliness as well
Isaiah 53:3 (NLT) says,
“He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.”
Jesus can relate with our loneliness. His own friends rejected Him and even denied that they knew Him! I can’t imagine the deep abandonment Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane as He cried out to God, pleading with His Father to save Him from the persecution of the cross (see Luke 22:42).
Still, Jesus chose to follow through with God’s plan out of obedience, despite the suffering. When we do the same and remain faithful to God, even if it costs us friends and popularity amongst peers, we can receive the same strength Jesus received as He endured the cross while being scorned and mocked.
During times of loneliness, let’s do as Hebrews 4:14-16 says and “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
2. Draw closer to God and remember that he will never forsake you
As I look back at my teen years, I'm amazed at how God used lonely seasons to help me build a deeper friendship with Him. Human companionship can never come close to filling the ache of loneliness the way God’s love can.
The truth is, humans are imperfect. People betray us. Friends come and go. But I thank God that He remains steady and secure, despite these changes! No amount of human love can satisfy us the way His love does.
Let’s find comfort in the nearness of God’s presence, grow in our walk with Christ, and meditate on the following biblical truths in His Word:
- God is always with us (Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20, Psalm 23:4, Hebrews 13:5, Joshua 1:5).
- He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6-8, 1 Samuel 12:22).
- Even if others abandon us, God remains (Psalm 27:10, John 14:8).
- God sees and cares about our suffering (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 38:9).
- God heals our broken hearts (Psalm 147:3).
- Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).
- He strengthens us and comforts us (Isaiah 40:28-31, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Hebrews 4:14-16).
3. Reach out to others and learn how to become a good friend
I don’t know about you, but I’ve often found myself sitting around, waiting for a friend to reach out to me. How silly is that? Besides, they could be waiting for me to reach out to them!
In other words, oftentimes when we’re lonely, we try so hard to satisfy desires for companionship that we forget that love is selfless rather than self-seeking (see 1 Corinthians 13:5).
If we hope to model the same lifestyle Jesus lived, then we should always search for ways to reach out to others—both friends and strangers alike.
In the act of showing love to others, guess what will happen? Others will naturally be drawn to the light of Jesus’ love within us. So by being a friend to others, we will, in return, find friends ourselves! How cool is that?
Luke 6:31 (NLT) says, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”
4. Seek wise counsel from pastors, spiritual advisors and others
If your loneliness is a result of lack of community, perhaps consider reaching out to spiritual advisors and your pastors.
God has placed those mentors in your life for a reason, and He often uses our spiritual advisors to speak into our lives. Ask them if they have advice for how you can combat loneliness and plug into a community.
And if your loneliness has become more serious, leading to deep anxiety or depression, talk to your parents and/or your doctor to get medical help. Don't try and do this all on your own.
5. Remember that seasons don’t last forever
It always helps me to remember the truth laid out in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT), which says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
The COVID-19 quarantine isn’t going to last forever. Let’s try to keep this perspective in mind as we endure suffering, seeking God for the endurance we need to press on.