Loneliness is epidemic
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter who will never leave you. – John 14:16
3 But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.
4 Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD – rejoice in his presence!
5 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows– this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
6 God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
On May 2, 2023, the Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy, issued a public advisory stating that loneliness is an “epidemic.”
Loneliness is a complex emotional state characterized by a sense of isolation or disconnection from others. It can be caused by various factors, including social isolation, a lack of close relationships, cultural or societal changes, and personal circumstances such as losing a loved one or a significant life change. Loneliness is often accompanied by feelings of sadness, emptiness, and longing for connection.
Loneliness threatens the health of Americans who are socially disconnected. Murthy noted that about half of the adults in the United States reported measurable levels of loneliness. Murthy stated, “Millions of people in America are struggling in the shadows . . .. We now know that loneliness is a common feeling that many people experience. It’s like hunger or thirst. It’s a feeling the body sends us when something we need for survival is missing.”
Loneliness is far more than just a bad feeling or negative emotion. Chronic loneliness can have adverse effects on both physical and mental health. Loneliness activates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to elevated stress hormones, inflammation, and hypertension. It can produce feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression. It is associated with an increased risk of dementia, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and premature death.
Children of the King are not immune to loneliness, social isolation, or disconnectedness. However, we have something that can relieve, soothe and ameliorate loneliness and the collateral damage it produces. More than something, we have Someone.
Matthew 28:20 Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
The Lord Jesus Christ has promised to be with us always and never leave us. Although we cannot see Him, He is always present with us. We are never alone.
REFLECT & PRAY
Hebrews 13:5 For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Father thank You that I am never alone. Thank You for providing the Holy Spirit, Who will never abandon or forsake me.
John 14:16 I will ask The Father, and He will give you another Comforter, Who will never leave you.
The Greek word translated as comforter, advocate, or helper is paraklete. Paraklete refers to one who is called alongside to help. The term is derived from para – to the side of and kaleo – to call. It literally means to call someone to oneself or call to one’s side. The verb can be translated as aid, help, comfort, encourage, affirm, or console.
“It really means someone who is called in, but it is the reason why the person is called in which gives the word its distinctive associations. The Greeks used the word in a wide variety of ways. A parakletos might be a person called in to give a favorable witness in a law court or an advocate called in to plead the cause of someone . . . an expert called in to advise on some difficult situation. Or a person called in when, for example, a company of soldiers was depressed and dispirited to put new courage into their minds and hearts . . .. a paraklētos is someone called in to help in time of trouble or need” (Barclay).
“We often talk of being able to cope with things. That is precisely the work of the Holy Spirit. He takes away our inadequacies and enables us to cope with life. The Holy Spirit substitutes victorious for defeated living” (Barclay).
The comfort and help that the Holy Spirit provides empowers those with weakened knees and uplifts those with low spirits, enabling them to confront life’s challenges with unwavering determination and limitless confidence. Comfort encompasses not only emotional solace and a feeling of contentment but also physical relief, gratification, and a sense of well-being (Garland).
Numerous individuals in the Scriptures experience profound solitude. Among them was David, whose words often resonated with deep feelings of separation, isolation, and disconnection.
Psalms 142:4 I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me or care about what happens to me.
6 I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7 I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.
Regarding social distancing and isolation, Job stands out from the rest.
14 My family is gone, and my close friends have forgotten me.
15 My servants and maids consider me a stranger. I am like a foreigner to them.
16 When I call my servant, he doesn’t come; I have to plead with him!
17 My breath is repulsive to my wife. My own family rejects me.
18 Even young children despise me. When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
19 My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me.
21 “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me.
“The normal Christian life is to be characterized by hope, joy, and peace. As we grow in grace, God wants us to experience more and more of each of them – and if they’re lacking, something has gone wrong” (Stanley).
Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
© Dr. H 2023
2 thoughts on “Loneliness is epidemic”
Oh my Dr H ….back to back with such “goodies”…FOMO AND ….today…LONELINESS….had to share the Reflections link this morning to several ladies….THANK YOU!
It is amazing when the reflections connect with the lives and circumstances of people.
2 Corinthians 1:6-10
6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.
7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.
9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.
10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.