Sermon Notes for Sunday, September 17
Never Alone in Loneliness?
by Tanner Fox
The world is more connected today than it has ever been in the history of human existence, and yet we still can’t figure out how to rid humanity of loneliness. Often we cannot even get rid of our own. There are few things as inescapable as death and taxes, but I’m convinced you could add loneliness to the list. Who among us has never experienced the feeling of being lonely? Whether for a moment in time or a full season of life?
On Sunday, we explored the Biblical responses to the loneliness that we feel. One being the presence of Jesus until the very end of the age (Matt. 28). The other being the Covenant Community that we are saved into when we bow down to Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives. These are the precious gifts given to us by the Father through the son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am a Pastor of the church. I have faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I have been brought into the body of Christ and I am well known amongst the members of our church (mainly because my face has been on the website for 5 months). I have an incredible, loving, and caring wife, great friends, a beautiful silver lab whose love never runs dry and yet, there are moments when I feel lonely. There are days, sometimes weeks, in which I feel alone and misunderstood.
You might say, “How is that possible?”? Your life is great! And in a sense you are right. I ought to feel guilty for feeling lonely because I am so wonderfully blessed, right? I don’t deserve these immense blessings, I have done nothing to earn them and yet the Lord has given abundantly. I should be able to look at myself in the mirror when I am feeling low and alone and say, “Stop it!!” And yet, I can’t. I don’t control my feeling of loneliness anymore than I can control my need for sleep or food. And similar to tiredness and hunger, no matter how many times I address the “problem” I’ll have to do it again in the next few hours or the next day.
I have been given the best of what this world has to offer and it still is not enough. I have the best wife, the best of friends, the best of jobs, the best of churches, and a heart full of thanks for it all, but that does not mean that I am not lonely at times. The brokenness of this world, due to sin and separation from our God, is deeper and wider than we can even imagine. No matter what you find in this life and no matter how filling it may feel, it won’t be enough. Not because you weren’t meant to be whole; in fact the feeling of emptiness should be revelatory to us. Not one of us has ever truly been “whole” and yet we continue to believe that “wholeness” is possible. Whether we are Christians or non-Christians, we refuse to accept that loneliness or brokenness or chaos is simply how things are supposed to be. Our hearts long for more.
“If I find in myself a desires in which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” - C.S. Lewis
You're not alone in your loneliness. Jesus meets you there. Your covenant community meets you there, not only to alleviate some of the feeling but to remind you that we all feel that way. It does not mean the Lord has forgotten you. It does not mean that you are broken beyond repair. It means that we were made for a new world, a new order, a renewed creation, in perfect communion with our perfect King.
Don’t buy the lie that if you really believed in God, nothing would go wrong. Quite the opposite: suffering and hardship is one of the things that Jesus promises. John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." We should expect hardship, suffering, persecution, etc. We should expect things to “go wrong” until one day when everything is made right.
Tanner Fox is the Minister for Mission at First Pres. He’s a recent grad of Reformed Theological Seminary and holds deep affection for people, movies, sports and Jesus Christ. As Minister for Mission, he leads the charge to help you love and serve the city and the world. firstname.lastname@example.org