Summary: Loneliness is a universal experience. It is another emotion that God has given us for our wellbeing. Loneliness can alert us to our need to draw closer to God and to others. God's provision for the lonely is a spiritual family.
A. Once upon a time there were three friends who were stranded on a desert island.
1. They found a magic lantern containing a genie who granted them each one wish.
2. The first guy wished he was off the island and back home – Poof it was granted.
3. The second guy wished for the same – Poof it was granted.
4. The third guy, finding himself alone and feeling lonely said: “I wish my friends were back here with me” – And poof it was granted.
B. Have you ever found yourself alone and feeling lonely and just wished you had some friends with you?
1. Today, as we continue our sermon series on emotions, I want us to talk about the emotion of loneliness.
2. Feelings of loneliness can be very strong and overwhelming.
3. Feelings of loneliness are a universal experience and almost everyone feels lonely at one time or another.
C. A few weeks ago, when we were talking about the emotion of love, I mentioned that most of the songs published throughout history have been about love.
1. Well, the emotion of loneliness must be high on the list of other subjects most written about.
2. The Wikipedia page titled “Songs about loneliness” had an alphabetical list of 308 songs.
3. Here are a few that I recognized:
a. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, by Hank Williams – I used that as the title of this sermon.
b. All By Myself, by Eric Carmen.
c. This is for all the lonely people, by America.
d. Elenor Rigby – Ah look at all the lonely people.
e. One is the loneliest number, by Three Dog Night
f. Don’t let me be lonely tonight, by James Taylor
g. Owner of a Lonely Heart, by Yes
h. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights, by the Bee Gees
i. How about some Elvis? –
1. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
2. Hearbreak Hotel:
Well, since my baby left me, I found a new place to dwell
Down at the end of Lonely Street at Heartbreak Hotel
Well I get so lonely, baby, I get so lonely, I get so lonely I could die
4. And perhaps one of the saddest songs ever written – Alone Again Naturally, by Gilbert O’Sullivan.
a. It was released the same month and year that my father’s died – May 1972, and I remember it coming on the radio over and over again, even when we were at the graveside.
b. The song included the words:
Looking back over the years, And whatever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died, Never wishing to hide the tears
And at sixty-five years old, My mother, God rest her soul
Couldn't understand why the only man, She had ever loved had been taken
Leaving her to start, With a heart so badly broken…Alone again, Naturally.
5. Okay, so do I have everyone feeling sad and lonely enough this morning?
a. Hang in there with me, what God has to offer us today is much brighter and positive.
b. But before we explore what the Bible says about loneliness, let’s work toward a definition of loneliness.
D. What is loneliness?
1. Vocabulary.com defines loneliness with this simple sentence: “Loneliness is the state of being alone and feeling sad about it.”
2. What is interesting about loneliness is that it is an emotion, but it is also a state of mind.
3. We can feel lonely for a number of reasons.
a. Feelings of loneliness may come from being left out, abandoned or rejected.
b. Feelings of loneliness may come after a change in circumstances; perhaps we have suffered a loss and are grieving, or we have moved to a new town, or have just retired, or the kids have left home.
4. But it is not always our circumstances that cause our feelings of loneliness.
a. We can feel lonely in any circumstance, at any age, and even when surrounded by people.
b. Henry David Thoreau said, “A city is a place where hundreds of people are lonely together.”
c. Sometimes crowds only enhance our feelings of loneliness – that can even occur when the church gathers, some people can even feel lonely in church.
5. Loneliness is the distressing experience that occurs when a person’s social relationships are perceived by that person to be less in quantity, and especially in quality, than desired.
6. Therefore, loneliness is the feeling of being isolated from meaningful human connections, which can come from physical isolation, from feeling out of place, misunderstood, or left out.
7. Because feelings of loneliness are so subjective and are often caused by perceptions, rather than reality, we need to realize that it is a battle of the mind.
a. While we may need to make changes to our circumstances or relationships, we may also need to make changes in our thinking.