Loneliness is real. The world is filled with people who live with a dull, nagging ache inside them much of the time.
Many of us get so busy with our own lives and families that we fail to notice the person at church who has nowhere to go for Thanksgiving dinner. We bypass the classmate who’s eating lunch alone. Perhaps other people’s loneliness makes us feel uncomfortable because we may feel at a loss as to how to help.
Fortunately, Jesus understood loneliness. He understood it because he felt it more than any of us have ever felt it. How lonely he must have felt when he cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 ESV).
Yet, despite the loneliness he no doubt felt (or, more likely, because of it), Jesus was “tuned in” to the loneliness around him. He not only offered words of comfort; he took the time to be present with the lonely.
Reminding the lonely person that God will never leave them or forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:6) is definitely a wonderful source of comfort. Yet words alone, even God’s words, can still feel empty to a lonely person. Instead, for the person whose heart is filled with the dull ache of loneliness, offer a hug, a dinner invitation, an hour spent at a coffee shop. God said, “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Guess who’s coming to dinner?