Dear Lonely Heart
You are not alone in feeling alone today. We all struggle with loneliness. When you're single, it can feel like the whole world is in love, especially this time of year. Today might be a painful reminder of the longing in your heart for marriage and for a spouse. Perhaps this longing has led you to distrust the Lord. People tell you He's good and does good, but another year has gone by and you're still single, sad, and lonely. Maybe that relationship you thought would work out failed and you're left hurt again with your heart in a million pieces. If that's you today, don't despair. To the aching, God's Word says: you are not alone, God is good, and there is greater joy than the sorrow you're experiencing.
But how do we get to the place where we truly believe those truths? How do we move from distrust to embracing the truth that God is good and that He's doing enough good in relation to our lives? Let's take some time to look at our problems and our Savior, and instead of dwelling on the lovers you wish to have today, let's think on the Supreme Lover we have in Christ.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?
The problem isn't that you and I don't have what we want, the problem is that you and I worship what we want. Your longing for a spouse isn't wrong or sinful. God made marriage and it is a good thing. However, we turn good things into sinful things when we live for our desires above God. Many of us have greater sorrow today than other days because we truly believe that a relationship will satisfy the deepest longings in our hearts and bring us ultimate contentment. Satan is the "father of lies," and he uses our desires to convince us that the Lord isn't really to be trusted because He hasn't given us what we really want (John 8:44). Thus, we worry we will never get what we really want, we're angry and bitter towards the Lord for holding out on us, and sad because we feel He's let us down and now we're hopeless to change our circumstances. If you think that way long enough, you will certainly fall into deep despair. Yet, you'd be in despair because you've embraced a lie rather than the truth.
The truth is, the Lord knows that people and circumstances will never truly satisfy us. What will? The Lord is the only well that never runs dry, He is the only treasure that truly satisfies. Consider His indictment against His people in Jeremiah 2:13, "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." Why was the Lord upset with Israel? Because they sought other sources to satisfy themselves instead of Him and He knew nothing else could give them the satisfaction they truly desired. To the one who thirsts, only Christ offers true satisfaction: "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life'" (John 4:13-14).
Here's the truth you and I need to embrace, apart from Christ, nothing you get in this world will bring you ultimate satisfaction. It's possible for you to feel just as dissatisfied married as you feel right now single. Until we come to accept that truth, we're always going to want and despair in our relationships with people and in our circumstances.
WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
Despite the lies we've believed, the Lord does care about the longings of our hearts and our sorrows. He doesn't want you to live life in despair, but to live your life delighting. He knew that nothing in this broken world could ever satisfy your heart, so He sent His son into this world as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face" (Isaiah 53:3b). Christ was despised and rejected and "our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried" (Isaiah 53:4a). And "He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). Even though, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way," the Lord "caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him" (Isaiah 53:6). The Lord wanted to offer you His perfect all-satisfying living water because He knew nothing else would do; there's no other well to bring you salvation and no other well to give you ultimate satisfaction.
When we feel tempted to doubt the Lord's goodness, we need to remind ourselves of His love for us demonstrated in the Gospel. We need to confess where we've been seeking other sources of ultimate satisfaction and dwell on truth instead of lies. Have you been honest with the Lord about your sorrows? Spend some time in prayer today, bear your pains to the Lord, confess your sins, and ask for His help:
Father, you know the desires of my heart. You know how I long for a spouse. I confess that I’ve made this desire into a demand and I’ve believed lies about you, Lord. I want to be married Lord, but in your sovereignty you have not allowed this right now. Help me to trust you despite how I might feel today. Help me to find my ultimate satisfaction in You and not in people or in my circumstances. You are good Lord and you are doing what is best for me. Today is a hard day for me, but I want to serve you and enjoy you. Help me to delight in You today Lord. Teach me what it looks like to love you with all my soul, heart, mind, and strength. I ask these things in Christ’s name, Amen.
Feeling lonely isn't sinful. However, if we're not careful, we can easily let our loneliness turn into sin (bitterness, discontentment, envy, jealousy, etc.) when we begin to live for what we think will satisfy us apart from Christ. Jesus Christ is the only well that never runs dry (John 4:13-14). He alone satisfies (Psalm 16:11). Remember, marriage isn't eternal, but your relationship with the Lord is. When we keep our eyes on Christ, it is possible to accept our circumstances right now knowing that He is good and is doing good in relation to our lives. Remember that God is always with you (Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20) and He sent His Holy Spirit to live in you and help you (John 14:16-17).
"lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” - Matthew 28:20b
“The answer to our loneliness is love – not our finding someone to love us, but our surrendering to the God who has always loved us with an everlasting love. Loving Him is then expressed in a happy and full-hearted pouring out of ourselves in love to others.” - Elisabeth Elliot