“Loneliness is a wilderness, but through receiving it as a gift, accepting it from the hand of God, and offering it back to Him with thanksgiving, it may become a pathway to holiness, to glory, and to God Himself.”- Elisabeth Elliot
In Chapter 1 (“The Pelican in the Wilderness”) of Transforming Loneliness: Deepening Our Relationship with God and Others When We Feel Alone, Ruth Graham (with Cindy Lambert) notes the difference between being alone and feeling lonely. First, loneliness reaches far deeper than missing the presence of another person. Hence, Ruth describes the feeling as an ache. A deep longing for connections, validation, and value.
Furthermore, Trevor Hudson defines the feeling is his book Beyond Loneliness:
“Loneliness . . . comes mostly when we are disconnected from others in such a way that we feel ignored, overlooked, or not known as we really are. It is the painful ache in our hearts for intimate connection, belonging, and companionship.”
Above all, Ms. Graham stresses, loneliness stands as a formidable foe. Therefore, one must take is seriously. Also, it requires an intentional battle plan as well as strong weapons for the fight. Because if it takes root in your soul and grows, loneliness spills over into your well-being. In addition, failure to respond to the challenge threatens all aspect of your health.
However, Ruth observes, we often feel shame due to the battle we face. As a result, we fail to share honestly with each other the work God’s doing in our lives. Yet, the author believes, something beautiful and supernatural happens when you’re honest and transparent. You share your struggles and discoveries living out your faith walk and the experiences of how God intervenes in your life.
Thus, Ruth exhorts, at each step along the journey you’ll discover God at work. He stands ready to transform your loneliness into a positive experience that accomplishes His purposes. And it draws you into a deeper, more satisfying relationship with Him and others.
Today’s question: How do you respond to the statemen that loneliness is a wilderness? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the November Short Meditation, “What a hurricane is to a mosquito”