Okay so I should have posted this a few days ago but here it is:
As we gain years, there is an expectation to be a growth logically. We are suppose to progress in life and we are living in a time at the high noon of progress but the shadow of the inner ache of loneliness lingers and haunts. It seems to be a struggle within that Henry David Thoreau said, “most people live lives of quiet desperation”.
Thomas Wolfe once said, “The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence”
Now if you know that Thomas Wolfe was a secular voice who didn’t know the love of Christ, here are some words that are more sharp and you’ll be surprised where they come from.
“Out in the cold I stand, looking on at the world sitting tight, with its people in their nice little worlds, and the friends who don’t even know me. It really makes no difference to their world where I am. If I’m there, it keeps going. If I’m not, it goes on. While I walk around, wandering, wondering, my mind a mass of mixed-up machinery, clashing with conflicts and unanswered questions. I don’t ask the world if it is real- It sits up there on its foundations, secure, concrete, hard, stone and real. But maybe I’m not real or if I am, maybe I shouldn’t be. They answer, ‘Smile, God loves you’, but I can’t smile. I’m numbed by cold inside and out. Even the heat in the square brick buildings. Would only warm my body, nothing else. I’m alone in a world full of people, apart, shut up inside myself, cold, unfeeling, in a cold unfeeling world.”
This was found by a professor of theology at Wheaton College from a student who wrote this down during a lecture and walked out of there.
The trouble with most of us men is that we are unwilling to admit it, because it renders us vulnerable to share that we have this desperate sense of loneliness.
Jesus even went through loneliness, in the Garden of Gethsemane, where three times He comes to His disciples and says, “Is it not possible for you to stay awake with me for these last few moments of my life”. And that sudden pang of loneliness even came to Jesus.
Loneliness is real, it is pervasive, it is endemic — the Bible tells us about, experience teaches us. It is a emotional estrangement, emotionally being orphaned, there is a sense of being cut off. For some it comes in moments, for others it’s a way of life.
Now here is the common answer: If only you knew that God loves you, you would not feel lonely. If only you had a family that loved you, you would not feel lonely.
May I dare to challenge that that statement! Let’s give it greater circumference with some context.
Yes. Love is what we need. It was interesting that Bertrand Russell who was such a brilliant writer, one of the brightest minds of his time who wrote against things Christian admitted that one of the deepest longings of his heart was the longing for love and he never found it.
Let’s look at the concept of love. C.S Lewis beautifully describes four kinds of loves in his book ‘The Four Loves’.
Agape: Love of God / Storge: Parental love / Phileo: The love of friendship / Eros: Romantic love
These four break down into four types of love:
• Need Love: Wanting to belong, held.
• Gift Love: Giving of ourselves to someone.
• Need Pleasure: Pleasure you can prepare for, such as a cool glass of water after exercise.
• Appreciation Pleasure: Surprise pleasure such as suddenly seeing a beautiful sunset.
As these four ideas of experience are lived out and wrestled something arises. C.S. Lewis says: “In this struggle for existence, something is missing. Something is missing in this quadrant here. Four aspects which I understand, it didn’t just pull it together for me, I suddenly realised something was missing. Then it dawned on me almost like a flash in the inward eye. What I needed was an appreciation love. Because need pleasure is momentary, need love is selfish, gift love can be given and be momentary and you can move on, and even an appreciation pleasure can be like a flash of a moment and it’s gone. What I need is a posture in my life, a life of appreciation love, which forever lives with gratitude.”
That is the missing element, and loneliness is only dealt with when a life understands what appreciation love is and that appreciation love only comes in worship.
In the world there is no more appreciation love, when you’ve got nobody to thank, there is no worship, when there is no worship there’s a vacuum within the human heart. The vacuum is filled not just in making God your Saviour and Lord, it is filled in worship which is seeped in gratitude. The older you get, the more is takes to fill your heart with wonder and only God is big enough to fill that heart of ours.
Need love cries out to God out of our heart’s poverty. It comes to God and says, “Have mercy on me”. Gift love comes to God out of service and says, “I want to give you my life”. Appreciation love comes to God and says, “How excellent is Your name in all the Earth” in worship. When you see an attractive potential partner; need love says, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could have her/his love and share my life with them”. Gift love says, “I would love to serve them with my love”. Appreciation love says, “Even if they never belong to me he/she’s still a lovely person”. When you see that in a woman you call it admiration, when you see that in a man you call it adulation, when you see that desirability in God you call it worship.
Only those who have moved from need love to gift love to appreciation love have been able to deal with the problem of loneliness. A person who knows that God has provided his/her strength in life, is a person who can whip the problem of loneliness. If you can not worship God in the aloneness of your life I suggest that you will never be able to deal with the problem of loneliness.
I hope the light turned on for you as it did for me, that in my worship I bring my need love to God, I bring my life as gift love to Him. And in appreciation love/worship as your lifestyle, God will counter that pang of loneliness.