When God Calls You To Be Lonely
I recently moved across the country with my husband and cat as my only companions. I was excited for a new adventure, and with 1800 miles between me and my demons, I felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in years. And what better air to be breathing than that of the Pacific Northwest?
We arrived in Seattle with no jobs, a meager amount of money in savings, and two of the most eager and willing hearts you could ever hope to meet. After a whirlwind of interviews and job offers, getting involved in a church plant, and finding a cheap apartment on the east side, we were finally starting to carve out a life for our little family all the way out here.
At first I didn’t notice how lonely I had become. I kept filling my free time with decorating the new apartment, or diving into a good book, or when all else failed, binging on Netflix. But at the end of the day, I really wanted friends. My husband did all he could to fill that void in my life, but there’s something different between a husband and wife relationship, and a close friend relationship. As it should be.
After searching the scriptures, crying out to God, and yes, maybe complaining a little, I felt like my prayers were falling on deaf ears. My words of empty praise ricocheted off of the hollow god I imaged myself praying to. I wanted good things, did I not? Building relationships for the purpose of doing life together, and spurring each other on towards the goal in which we were called sure seemed to align with scripture, right?
After one particularly difficult church service, I lost it. Sitting in the car with my husband in the parking lot of our apartment complex, I started bawling. “Why?!” I cried. “Why don’t I have any friends?” My husband is such a gem, and he has figured out when words just aren’t necessary. He just sat there with me and let it hurt for a while. He then gently asked what I thought God was doing with my loneliness.
This question hung in the air for a few moments. God? Doing something? With my loneliness? It had never occurred to me that God was in control. I mean I knew that God was sovereign and that He is in control, and I knew that I was lonely, but I never put the two together. Psalm 119 came to mind, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Maybe God was calling me to be lonely so that I could know Him more. I had known what it was like to depend on God to provide rent money, to heal broken bones, to feed and clothe me. But I had never experienced the all encompassing, soul-satisfying knowledge that He is my greatest friend. I never had to.
Since that afternoon, I have spent more time in God’s word than I had in years. My prayers have gone from meaningless recitations to honest, sometimes brutal truths. This doesn’t always look like me walking away with new and exciting insights, or having a deep, intelligent conversation with God. It means that I’m working on it. For the first time in a long time.
So If you find yourself in the midst of a lonely season in life, take heart – for you are in good company. God’s company, to be exact. Let Him be enough for you, as He promised He would be.