Psalm 25:16-17 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. I have known of folks over the years who have felt “lonely and afflicted” and to them it was very real. The problem is, sometimes when one gets in that state of mind, they start feeling the same way that David felt and begin to think that even God has turned His back on them. The fact is loneliness and affliction are an open door for depression and depression is an open door for loneliness and affliction. Depression is always right around the corner waiting for an entrance.
There are probably more folks suffering from depression today than at any other time because of things like Coved-19, the country being ripped apart by riots and being shut in.
According to some studies that I have found, “loneliness is not only making us sick but is also killing us”. That same study shows that “elderly people who are without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely”. Then it says “The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking and loneliness is twice as dangerous as obesity”.
The report continues to say, “Social isolation impairs the immune function and boosts inflammation which can lead to arthritis, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Loneliness is breaking our hearts, but as a culture we rarely talk about it.”
Loneliness has doubled … 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely. This was up from 20 percent in the 1980s”.
I have known several people over the years who have committed suicide. One particular person was a pastor who had been a successful minister for many years. He was a very kind man and was liked by everyone. He and his wife were particularly close and did everything together … when you saw one you saw the other.
I was invited to preach in their church many times over the years which I enjoyed.
However, one day the pastor’s wife died, and because they had been so close, loneliness set in and he was never able to adjust to his loss. As a matter of fact, he acted like a man who was put on another planet and did not know what to do or where to turn. His affliction was so deep and loneliness rooted itself in his spirit to the point that he could no longer bare the pain.
With a broken heart that he believed was unrepairable, he drove out in the country and committed suicide. This whole scenario started out with a killer named loneliness.
I suppose if I had any advice to the rest of us it would be to find the lonely, (which could be closer than you think … like a family member), and become partners of faith with them. Develop a close friendship with them and carry them until they are able to stand. When they are able to stand, encourage them to pay it forward to someone else and carry them if need
be. Who knows, the one they may have to carry could be you.
Help us to be strength to the weak and particularly those who have lost hope. Help our guard to always be up to fight against the loneliness and affliction in others. The silent killer of loneliness must be defeated.