Summary: Sermon looks at loneliness. Reasons: 1. TRANSITION 2. SEPARATION 3. OPPOSITION 4. REJECTION - Five steps: A. RECOGNIZE God Is There B. MAXIMIZE God’s Strength C. UTILIZE Your Time D. SYMPATHIZE For Those In Need E. GOLRIFY God’s Deliverance
How To Overcome Loneliness
Loneliness is one of the most miserable feelings a person can have. When you’re lonely you may feel that nobody loves you. You may feel that nobody cares. Loneliness can make you may feel that nobody even cares if you exist.
But here is a fact: You don’t even have to be alone to feel lonely. You can feel lonely in a crowd.
It’s not the number of people around you that determines your loneliness – it’s the relationship you have with them. In the United States the population has more than doubled in my life time. Yet people still feel lonely.
Can you be wealthy and still feel lonely? Of course you can. Can you be popular and still feel lonely? Yes. Can you be beautiful or handsome and still be lonely? Yes. Can you be married and still feel lonely? That can happen too – just ask the people who marry because they are lonely – only to divorce a few years later because they are lonely.
The fact is – everybody experiences loneliness at one time or another. But there are distinct causes and cures for loneliness. There are times that we bring loneliness on ourselves – but there are other times when situations or circumstances are unavoidable and uncontrollable. That’s the condition in which the Apostle Paul found himself as he wrote his second letter to Timothy. Paul was a dying old man as he wrote from a prison in Rome. He was writing to his good friend Timothy and he urged Timothy to visit him because he was lonely. Let’s read our text now:
“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. Make every effort to come to me soon.” 2 Timothy 4:5-9 (NASB)
Four Basic Causes of Loneliness
The first cause of loneliness is the transitions of life.
Life is full of transitions or changes. Growing older is a series of changes and each change can produce loneliness. When you were conceived you were inside your mother’s womb. There was warmth in there. You could hear the heart beat of your mother every minute of every day – but then you are born. You came out into a different world – a different environment. There were times when they would lay you down in a crib and no one was touching you or holding you. You seemed to be by yourself – no one seemed to be around. But you get use to that. But then you grow and your parents take you to a strange place called “school” and leave you there with a bunch of strangers. Some of the people are adults but many of them are the same size and age as you. This is frightening at first but then you get use to it. But then the day comes when graduation comes – what next? More school? A new job? Marriage? Family? Changes – changes – changes. Retirement? Failing health? Death of a loved one? Changes – changes – changes. Life is one transition after another and many of those transitions can be lonely.
Paul knows about the changes in life – he knows about transitions. He is nearing the final transition of life. He knows that his time is short – and he is lonely. He says, “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure” (2 Tim. 4:6). As Paul spends his last days alone he says, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
The first cause of loneliness is simply the transitions of life. Any new experience that we have to deal with can be frightening and lonely.
The second cause of loneliness is:
Separation happens when you feel isolated – apart from your friends – apart from your family – apart from those people who you know – apart from the people who you love. In the Army there are times of separation – and when it does a person can feel lonely. But even if you’re not in the Army there can be times of separation – job – school – hospital stay. These can be times of loneliness.