May 31: Fighting Loneliness
1 Chronicles 28:1–29:2; 2 Timothy 4:9–22; Psalm 90:1–17
Loneliness is one of the most disheartening feelings a person can know. Being alone in a time of pain is even worse. Several recent surveys suggest that lonely people—especially teenagers—subtly reach out through their social networks, desperately looking for someone who cares. In a world where anyone can get attention online, we’ve moved away from authentic community. We continue to crave personal interactions—perhaps more so because we have electronic witness to the interactions of others. We as Christians should see this as an opportunity to reach out to disenfranchised, lonely people and show the love of Christ to others.
Paul’s second letter to Timothy illustrates how feelings of loneliness are amplified by pain. He makes one of the most candid statements in the Bible:
“At my first defense, no one came to my aid, but they all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord helped me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fulfilled and all the Gentiles might hear, and he rescued me from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:16–18).
Paul is angry and hurt, but he’s well aware that God has been and will continue to be his strength. He acknowledges that he needs and craves community, but he clearly states that God is foremost in his life. He then reminds Timothy of God’s work in his life and others’—ending with “Amen,” meaning “So be it.” Paul’s reliance on God’s past faithfulness bears a striking resemblance to a statement from Psa 90: “O Lord, you have been our help in all generations. Before the mountains were born and you brought forth the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God” (Psa 90:1–2).
This psalm emphasizes that God always has and always will be a “help” to His people.
While we can take comfort in that, we should make every effort—as people aspiring to live like Christ—to help others. For Paul found God not only in His provision of spiritual strength, but in the kindness of others.
How can you show God’s kindness and faithfulness to people who are lonely?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Now David assembled all the princes of Israel: the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the bands that served the King, and the captains of thousands, and the captains of hundreds, and the rulers of all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the eunuchs, and the mighty, and all the men of power, unto Jerusalem. And King David stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear ye me, my brethren and my people: I purposed to have built an house of rest for the Ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for a footstool of our God, and have made ready for the building. But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my Name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. Yet as the Lord God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father, to be King over Israel forever (for in Judah would he choose a prince, and of the house of Judah is the house of my father, and among the sons of my father he delighted in me to make me king of all Israel) So of all my sons (for the lord hath given me many sons) he hath even shosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. and hs said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build mine house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. I will establish therefore his kingdom forever, if he endeavor himself to do my commandments, and my judgments, as this day. Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God, that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your chidren after you forever. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind: for the Lord hath chosen thee to build the house of the Sanctuary: be strong therefore and do it. Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch and of the houses thereof, and of the closets thereof, and of the galleries thereof, and of the chambers thereof that are within, and of the house of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had in his mind for the courts of the house of the Lord, and for all the chambers round about, for the treasures of the house of God, and for the treasures of the dedicated things, And for the courses of the Priests, and of the Levites, and for all the work for the service of the house of the Lord, and for all manner vessels of all manner of service. The weight also of gold for the candlesticks, and gold for their lamps, with the weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof, and for the candlesticks of silver by the weight of the candlestick, and the lamps thereof according to the use of every candlestick, And the weight of the gold for the tables of showbread, for every table, and silver for the tables of silver, And pure gold for the fleshooks, and the bowls, and plates, and for basins, gold in weight for every basin, and for silver basins, by weight for every basin, And for the altar of incense, pure gold by weight, and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the Cherubs that spread themselves, and covered the Ark of the covenant of the Lord: All, said he, by writing sent to me by the hand of the Lord, which made me understand all the workmanship of the pattern. And David said to Soloon his son, Be strong and of a valiant courage, and do it: fear not, nor be afraid: for the Lord God, even my God is with thee: he will not leave thee, nor forsake thee, till thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. Behold also, the companies of the Priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God, even they shall bewith thee for the whole work, with every free heart that is skillful in any manner of service. The princes also and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment. Moreover, David the King said unto all the Congregation, God hath chosen Solomon mine only son, young and tender, and the work is great: for this house is not for man, but for the Lord God. Now I have prepared with all my power for the house of my God, gold for vessels of gold, and silver for them of silver, and brass for things of brass, iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood, and onyx stones, and stones to be set, and carbuncle stones, and of divers colors, and all precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. 1 Chronicles 28:1–29:2
- Make speed to come unto me at once: For Demas hath forsaken me, and hath embraced this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica. Crescens is gone to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable unto me to minister. And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but specially the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith hath done me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works. Of whom be thou ware also: for he withstood our preaching sore. At my first answering no man assisted me, but all forsook me: I pray God, that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord assisted me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might be fully believed, and that all the Gentiles should hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will prserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be praise for ever and ever, Amen. Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus abode at Corinth: Trophimus I left at Miletus sick. Make speed to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy Spirit. Grace be with you, Amen. 2 Timothy 4:9–22
- Who so dwelleth in the secret of the most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say unto the Lord, O my hope, and my fortress: he is my God, in him will I trust. Surely I will deliver thee from the snare of the hunter, and from the noisome pestilence. He will cover thee under his wings, and thou shalt be sure under his feathers: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid of the fear of the night: nor of the arrow that flieth by day. Nor of the pestilencde that walketh in the darkness: nor of the plague that destroyeth at noon day. A thousand sahll fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come near thee. Doubtless with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward fo the wicked. For thou hast said, The Lord is mine hope: thou hast set the most High for thy refuge. There shall none evil come unto thee, neither shall any plague come near thy tabernacle. For he shall give his Angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee in their hands, that thou hurt not thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the lion and asp: the young lion, and the dragon shalt thou tread under feet. Because he hath loved me, therefore will I deliver him: I will exalt him because he hath known my Name. He shall call upon me, and I will hear him: I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and glorify him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. Psalm 90:1–17