Summary: Loneliness is an issue that impacts more christians than most might think. David dealt with loneliness through the writing of Psalms
Solitaire: Dealing with Loneliness
Series: The Games of Life
October 23, 2011
The game of solitaire:
Ninety-two percent of the Christians attending a recent Bible conference admitted in a survey that feelings of loneliness are a major problem in their lives. All shared a basic symptom: a sense of despair at feeling unloved and a fear of being unwanted or unaccepted. This is a tragic commentary on the people about whom Christ said: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35).
Robert S. McGee, The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth through God’s Eyes (Nashville: Word Pub., 1998), 54.
Loneliness is epidemic in American culture. There is more ways to connect with people than ever before but loneliness is on a steady increase. Loneliness is about more than just being alone. There are many people who live alone but rarely experience loneliness. There are others who are surrounded by people are feel the pang of loneliness. Loneliness is more an issue of the heart than it is about the presence of others. Loneliness is the emotional response to abandonment or separation.
1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; 4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him, " and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.
The cry of a lonely heart – How long
How Long – repeated four times in two verses
How long – The cry of a lonely heart
The traditional view of this Psalm’s authorship belongs to David and may have been written during a time of great trial or personal sickness. Many view these words written during the period when David was forced to flee from Saul. It makes sense that the author would be David and the time of flight would also connect with the wording of the Psalm.
The words here are a heartfelt cry for the presence of God. The words are ripped with raw emotion that echoes through the entire passage. The words How long are repeated four times in these first two verses. They are the opening of a desperate cry to God from the depths of loneliness and despair. We know that at this time in David’s life, there was an incredible amount of problems. David was separated from his family and his home while Saul was trying to find a way to kill him. The situation looked grim and the chances of ever becoming the promised king were dwindling by the moment.
David pours out his heart to God in these moments when intensity of the emotions are at their highest and David is at his lowest. These words flow out of a sense of desperation, despair and loneliness. David was in the midst of a depth of personal need that no one but God could meet.
Will you hide your face forever?
Have you ever felt forgotten? Have you ever felt left out or ignored? David was clearly experiencing these kinds of emotions as he pleads with God. The honestly of David is something we do not see in our American society. Most people lie about their feelings of loneliness or deny them altogether. David faced his loneliness head on and went to God in the midst of the emotional turmoil.
David does not believe that he will never experience the presence of God. The word forever here has the implication of a current, constant expression. The feeling is that God will not answer and will not come to the aid of the current situation. Things have become so bad that David began to feel that even God had abandoned him.
The feeling of being forgotten or being alone was not new the people of Israel or to characters through the Bible.
• Israel enduring decades of slavery in Egypt before God rescued them
• Moses stood alone before God pleading for the nation
• Gideon was alone and in hiding when called to lead an army
• David stood alone against Goliath
Lee Strobel writes: People today will admit any problem - drugs, divorce, alcoholism - "but there’s one admission that people are loath to make, whether they’re a star on television or someone who fixes televisions in a repair shop. It’s just too embarrassing. It penetrates too deeply to the core of who they are." People don’t want to admit that they are (sometimes) lonely. "Loneliness is such a humiliating malady that it ought to have its own politically correct euphemism: ’relationally challenged.’ Or its own telethon. Anything to make it safer to confess.