There’s a common misconception in Christianity about the idea of ‘loneliness,’ like it is normal to dissociate from a social bubble as long as you have Christ. There was a stage in my life where I thought this, believing that as long as it was just God, my Bible and I, I would be fine. Ever since COVID-19, however, God has shown me what it truly means to be a ‘lonely’ Christian.
Where there is an absence of something we often take for granted, we feel the impact of it all the more. Imagine you had lighting in your house the whole year, and all of a sudden everything switches off, leaving an absence of light and only darkness. You feel the impacts of the loss of lighting all the more in comparison to you living with unstable lighting all your life. This has been the situation for many Christians like you and I. It is becoming increasingly difficult to cope, to continue the race amidst everything. So what now? What are the solutions to this new pandemic we know as ‘loneliness?’
Remember, you are not alone in your loneliness
The Lord will not abandon His people; He will not desert those who belong to Him– Psalm 94:14
Loneliness is not a foreign biblical concept. Job suffered from loneliness, losing everything and everyone. Even Christ suffered from the feeling of being alone from the Father as He was hung on a tree. There are many other examples in the bible, however they all have one major thing in common. God did not abandon them in their loneliness. In fact, God knew that periods of loneliness would come, that is why He highlighted the importance of community in His Word.
Develop an online community
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.-Ecclesiastes 4:12
Despite lockdown restrictions, the importance of community remains. God has made a way where a virtual community can be created, allowing oneself to grow spiritually, socially and mentally. These include online bible studies, online church and general online socials. A schedule could even be formed to ensure that a community is sustained – that you are not left in your loneliness as a single cord prone to break.
Prayer and Introspection is key
David was a shepherd. Despite this, he still sought time to play the harp, developing the talent God had bestowed on him. Now that we have more time, we can now learn to explore our gifts, talents and interests. What have you always wanted to do? Of course, it’s easier said than done. Thorough introspection and prayer is needed to understand which direction to take, but what’s important is the starting point. Everything afterwards will be easier.
Furthermore, try to set biblical goals for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to complete the whole Bible in lockdown, but perhaps there was a book you always wanted to analyse, or a topic you always wanted to look into. Maybe there was even an aspect of theology you always wanted to understand – now is that perfect time. As much as we should set goals to build ourselves up physically and socially, we should also spend this time tending to our spiritual goals.
Engage with who and what God has provided
Try and interact with those around you. If you’re living at home, try and interact more with your family. God placed us in families for many reasons, one which I assume is He understood that we could not grow in loneliness. We require social interaction, a community who can help us on our journey to maturity. Engage with this God-given community. If you’re not living at home, engage with an appropriate social bubble, making sure that a community is still maintained.
Community is of importance in the Christian faith. This is how God intended it to be, a faith of relationship and not dictatorship – and not just relationship with Him but with others whom you would call brother and sister. This is why we are referred to as the body of Christ, a body made up of a community who love the Lord. In all, it is important for you to understand that you are not alone, regardless of what Satan tells you. Hold fast, it will be over before you know it.