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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Seasons of Loneliness

"For God has said, 'I will never, never fail you nor forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5 TLB

Some years ago, my sister confided in me that a friend of hers had decided to marry a very troubled man because she was afraid of being alone and lonely. In an attempt to allay my sister's fears, I told her, "Well, perhaps in her situation, I would do the same thing." Without hesitation, my sister shot back, "No, you wouldn't - you'd never compromise like that!" It was one of the highest compliments I ever got, and I value it to this day. Over the years, my sister has seen me endure seasons of loneliness, rather than enter into - or continue - relationships that weren't good for me. And this strategy has spared me a lot of heartache and misery. I must confess that it troubles me to see Christians stay in questionable relationships because they fear being alone. If you are one of these people, let me share some things with you that should help you to overcome your fears once and for all.

First of all, as soon as you begin to feel lonely, talk to the Lord about it. Confess to Him that you are struggling with feelings of loneliness, and ask Him to comfort and console you. Have you ever asked the Lord for a hug? If not, it's time that you began doing exactly that. A warm embrace from God can heal and comfort better than anything else. Most of all, refuse to give in to fear. The fear of being alone can cause us to make costly mistakes. Realize that loneliness is just a feeling, and that you don't have to let it rule and reign over you. As a follower of Christ, you are to be led by the Spirit of God, not by your feelings. If you bow down to feelings of loneliness, you will spend your life trying to comfort yourself with unhealthy people, places, and things. Think of Jesus. He was the best friend that anyone could ever have, and yet all of His friends deserted Him when He needed them most. He knew ahead of time that this would happen, and He told His disciples: "The time is coming - in fact, it is already here - when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving Me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me." (John 16:32 NLT) The Savior didn't whine or feel sorry for Himself. He didn't make foolish decisions. He took comfort in the fact that His Heavenly Father would always be with Him, even if everyone else deserted Him. And we can follow His example.

Next, cooperate with the Lord to develop godly relationships. Pray for friends who are Christlike believers. And determine to remain alone, rather than in bad company. The apostle Paul wrote - "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals.'" (1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB) Don't allow the devil to convince you that your relationships aren't important to God. Heed the warnings contained in His Word, including Proverbs 4:23 (TLB), which says: "Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life." In other words, guard your affections as though you were guarding your very life, because they will either lead you toward God and His good plans for you, or toward destruction. Remember that God wants you to "enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts." (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT) And while you're waiting for companions like these to come your way, concentrate on becoming all that God created you to be, by getting to know Him better. As you get your priorities in the proper order, you will see the Lord act on your behalf in awesome ways.

Lastly, get rooted and grounded in Scripture. Search out scriptural promises that encourage and enlighten. Memorize them and meditate on them until they become a part of you. Joy will rise up in your heart, and you will be strengthened and sustained. (Nehemiah 8:10) Proverbs says: "The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?" (Proverbs 18:14 AMP) As you feed yourself a steady diet of Scripture, you will become so strong in spirit that seasons of loneliness won't sway you. You will stay focused and determined to lay hold of all the good things God has in store for you - including high quality relationships.

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to respond to feelings of loneliness in a Christlike manner from now on. Help me to overcome my fears in this area by clinging to Your promises, and refusing doubtful thoughts. Make me willing to endure seasons of loneliness, rather than compromise my walk with You. Thank You for Your precious promise which says: "Be sure of this - that I am with you always, even to the end of the world"! (Matthew 28:20 TLB)

- J. M. Farro


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