Summary: Loneliness is how satan wants us to live our lives, but God’s remedy for loneliness is friends!
TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:1-16; various others in proverbs
TITLE: What to do with Loneliness - PAUL
SERIES: When Life Gets Messy…
TOPIC: Loneliness & Friendship
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, November 22, 2009
PROP.: Loneliness is how Satan wants us to live our lives; but God’s remedy for loneliness is friendship!
INTRODUCTION: Today we wrap up our sermon series called - when life gets messy. And what we’ve learned is that life’s messes makes our lives difficult.
This series has covered a lot of difficulties you and I face in life.
1. Stress - JESUS
2. Failure - PETER
3. Negativity - ELIJAH
4. Discouragement - NEHEMIAH
And so that brings us to today.
Today’s mess that I want us to explore is the mess caused by LONELINESS.
To be alone. I believe it’s a legitimate fear of many. I believe firmly that loneliness is how Satan wants you to live. He wants you to feel isolated, cut off. But that’s not how God wants you to live! God doesn’t want you to be alone!
In fact, God has said when He created man that it was not good for man to be alone!
What causes loneliness? To answer that question I want to look at the last part of the apostle Paul’s life.
Paul was in prison and was soon about to be put to death as he writes his second letter to Timothy - his partner in ministry, his son of the faith; his faithful friend. And it becomes obvious that Paul is lonely!
Our text starts out in 2nd Timothy 4
And for the apostle Paul, there were three causes to his loneliness that I want to quickly address.
1. First cause of Paul’s loneliness was the TRANSITIONS of life.
Life is full of change. And any change has the potential to produce loneliness.
You are lonely when you are born and you cry until you are cuddled.
The first school you attended was a lonely experience.
Getting your first job was a lonely experience.
Changing jobs can be a lonely experience.
Retiring is lonely.
The death of a loved one is lonely.
And now the apostle Paul was experiencing a transition in his life where he felt lonely. In verse 9 he pleads with Timothy to “Do you best to come visit me soon.”
He was facing the biggest challenge in his life and what did Paul want? His friends!
At all stages of life, loneliness has the potential to creep in. And what do you learn about loneliness? Loneliness, has very little to do with being alone. You can be lonely and yet surrounded a hundred people.
Loneliness has to do with a lack of relationships!
This leads me to the second cause of loneliness in life.
Paul wasn’t alone. He had other prisoners - guards. But he was lonely. He was isolated from friends and family.
Question: What is the most severe form of discipline for an inmate NOT on death row?
ANSWER: Solitary confinement.
Why is it such an effective form of punishment? Because people need people.
It was certainly true of Paul.
Right after he requests Timothy to come visit him in verse 9, Paul goes on to mention his best friends, but none of them were with him except Luke. Paul was in prison in a foreign country and he told Timothy - “I miss these people.”
And Paul’s loneliness was so deep and so real that three times in chapter 4, he is pleading with Timothy to come to him.
Vs. 9 & 13 Paul tells Timothy to ‘come”
Vs. 21 “Do your best to get here before winter.”
Paul wanted to put an end to the separation and as a result put an end to his loneliness.
Physical separation from those we love is painful. That is why there are tears at funerals. That is why there are tears when the kids go off to college or get married. Because things will be different.
Some separation we cannot do anything about, but some separation CAN be repaired! Some separation has been caused by conflict and so you’ve chosen to separate yourself from that person.
Many married people are lonely because there is a dis-connect from their spouse. They are living in the same house, but they are separated mentally, emotionally, spiritually. They want so desperately to be intimate again with their spouse and I’m telling you it’s not too late!!! You can repair the separation and end your loneliness!
So I ask: Who do you need to call? Who do you need to write a letter to? What needs to be said? Do it now while there is still time!
The third basic cause of loneliness is the one that causes the most pain…