The pandemic that we are currently enduring is causing our society to be tormented by unprecedented levels of loneliness. While some are “isolating” in full houses, others are isolated in the truest sense of the word.
Dr. Vivek Murthy served as the Surgeon General of the United States from 2014 to 2017. He has written a new book titled, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. While serving as the Surgeon General he was stunned to discover just how desperately lonely and isolated so many Americans felt. He therefore began a nationwide fact-finding listening tour and found adult Americans were experiencing a crippling sense of social isolation.
Clearly all of the quarantining we are faced with is only intensifying this problem. And we don’t really know how serious this problem is because accepting and admitting our loneliness can be quite embarrassing. Admitting we are lonely causes us to think we have failed in the most important arena of life: belonging, love and attachment.
I think this is a clear indicator that God made us relational beings. If we were not designed to live in relationships with others, there would be no problem with loneliness.
Author Donald Miller says:
“… the words alone, lonely and loneliness are 3 of the most powerful words in the English language. These words say we are human; they are like the words hunger and thirst. But they are not words about the body, but the soul.”
He goes on to say, “I think it is interesting that God designed people to need other people. Our souls need to interact with other people to be healthy.”
Phillip Zimbardo is a psychologist that teaches at Stanford and has made this observation; “There is nothing more detrimental to a person’s life than isolation. There is no more destructive influence on physical and mental health than the isolation of you from me and us from them.”
The Bible is quite clear, we need each other. In Romans 12:5, in the Amplified version we read that “we are mutually dependent on one another.” Isn’t it interesting that God designed us to need each other, to be mutually dependent on one another. I guess this explains why we become so dysfunctional when we live in isolation.
It strikes me that the loneliest moment in life must be when we are facing death and must step into eternity all alone. There is no one to go with us, it is such a solitary experience.
The Christian life is a relationship with Christ. It is knowing Him and walking through life with Him. Most significantly, he promises to walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. The good news of the gospel is that in Christ, you are never alone.
Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.