Written by Sue McAlinden
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
Do you ever feel like you are surrounded by people but have no one to talk to?
Maybe you feel isolated from Covid, or rejected by your co-worker, your company, or a companion. Perhaps you’re struggling with a health scare, and you feel all alone. Sometimes life causes us to feel lonely and a little bit lost.
If God values relationships, why doesn’t He provide companionship?
I understand how you feel.
Several years ago we moved to a foreign country. I left a community that I deeply valued in the U.S., and I couldn’t find a place to belong overseas. A bible study that I wanted to join was a car ride, a train journey, and a subway navigation away from me. With two pre-school boys to accompany me and two school age children to pick up on time, that seemed unfeasible. Another bible study was more conveniently located, but no one responded to my repeated inquiries. I tried to join one play group and start another one unsuccessfully. Most of the women that I met worked, and my husband frequently traveled. I felt alone, isolated, discouraged, and different. I couldn’t understand why God moved us since I lost all I felt I needed to thrive.
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
If that verse was true, why wasn’t God meeting my needs? Do you ever wonder that too?
What do you think you need to flourish? Do you need stability, friends, financial security, meaningful employment, a solid church?
I made a startling discovery during those lonely first few months overseas. Since I had no one except the baby and the preschooler to talk to, I spent many mornings in our familiar glider upstairs with a Bible on my lap. While the boys got lost in their world of toys and trucks, I got lost in my world of talking to God. I gave Him an earful about my need for community and my feelings of isolation and discouragement. God listened for months, but patiently His words chiseled their way into my spirit.
He explained that right then He was all I needed. I wanted companionship to challenge me, accept me, listen to me, and relate with me. God could do all those things and more. I was focused on what I thought I wanted. God waited until I was ready to hear what He knew I needed. I needed Him.
Many biblical people also discovered this.
Jeremiah preached an unwanted and unpopular message of repentance to his people. He was rejected, ridiculed, and persecuted as a result. A depressed Jeremiah cried out that he should never have been born. When God responded to him, Jeremiah found renewed inspiration to continue in a thankless job.
Leah felt lonely when her husband loved another woman, but she found favor and acceptance when she allowed God to be her husband.
Even though Elijah experienced the victorious power of God, he felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually empty when the people threatened to kill him. After God met Elijah all alone in a cave, Elijah felt encouraged and motivated to continue.
The bleeding woman found hope and healing when she met Jesus after twelve long years of isolation.
All these discouraged, lonely, hurting people found comfort, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, and hope after they encountered Jesus.
How are you trying to fill the emptiness in your soul? Only God can fill it perfectly for any situation and any need.
Little by little, God opened my eyes to the gift of living overseas and his ability to provide for my social needs. His presence and comfort were so tangible in that glider. He also didn’t waste the wilderness. Those months were hard, but what I gained by learning to trust him, I don’t ever want to lose. Those months spent sitting at his feet shifted something in me. Like the saints before me, I emerged stronger, more content, and encouraged. I grew more confident and comfortable with myself and reaped the rewards of that later.
Whatever lonely, empty, rejected, or isolated feelings you have, God has a purpose for your pain. If you allow Him, He will transform and empower you in perfect ways that you can’t imagine. The question is, what will it take for you to trust Him?
Dear Lord, I feel empty, alone, lost, and lonely. Will you speak to my heart and fill my soul with your Spirit? Help me trust you to provide exactly what I need. I surrender to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.