A friend and I were talking awhile back about a book that suggests all people, at their core, are alone.  We feel this loneliness, and it motivates us to invest in relationships that will counteract our lonely feelings.  We long for quality community with others because we experience love within relationships, and love is the antithesis of loneliness.  Or, as my friend put it, loneliness is the absence of love.

Just as dark is the absence of light and cold is the absence of heat, loneliness is the absence of love.  If it weren’t for loneliness, we would never realize we long for and need love.  And if we never come to that realization, we certainly never conclude that we long for and need God.  So loneliness serves as a compass.  When we experience loneliness, it is God’s hope that we will realize it is Him, Love, that we want. 

I think it is safe to assume that many of you are like me.  When we start to feel lonely, we wallow.  We think about the “friends” that don’t call us.  We entertain the idea that no one really understands us.  We assume that everyone else has more fulfilling relationships than we do.  We feel our loneliness.  But we fail to use the loneliness the way God intends for us to use it; we fail to let our feelings direct us to the Answer.

And that breaks God’s heart.

God is good through and through, and, because of that, He doesn’t enjoy our being lonely.  He hates it.  He hates the emotional turmoil we go through.  He weeps when we weep.  His heart breaks over our pain.  But He knows that unless we feel that loneliness, we won’t come to Him.  And He hates that even more.  He knows that the best place for each of us to be is in a personal relationship with Him.  And because He wants what is best for us, He does whatever it takes to encourage us to engage with Him.

So the next time we are feeling the pain of loneliness, let’s not stop there.  Let’s use that pain as a catalyst to draw nearer to the Lord.  That’s why that pain exists in the first place.  And He is the only Love that can take it away.