Down in Lonesome Town
Bible Reading: John 15:12-15
The greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. John 15:13
“I don’t know what my problem is,” Tamara blurts through her tears. “I have friends, but I guess they’re not the right kind. Or maybe I don’t have enough. I never have to sit alone at lunch or on the bus. But I can feel lonely even in a crowd. Sometimes I’m not sure anyone understands me—or wants to. Even my teachers. I raise my hand and it’s like I’m invisible. I think that if I never showed up at school again, nobody would even notice I’d left.”
If you could grow up without ever feeling lonely, it would be like making it through cold season without getting a runny nose. Sometimes you might get lucky. But sooner or later you’re going to feel like a giant drip.
Like a runny nose, lonely feelings tell us something isn’t right. But what? Loneliness might seem as if it’s all about not being popular or pretty. It actually has more to do with a desire God gives us to be loved and accepted. That’s a deep, healthy need—and a need everyone has. When that need isn’t met, we’re going to feel lonely.
Most folks try to get rid of loneliness in one of two ways.
• Approach # 1: Act like a worm. Worms try to cure their loneliness by crawling away from the crowds. Here’s how this person thinks: I’m lonely because nobody loves me. The safest thing I can do is burrow underground. So I’m staying down in the dirt. I’m never going to get close to other people.
• Approach #2: Act like a puppy dog. Puppy dogs try to cure loneliness by doing anything to get people to like them. This person thinks, I’m lonely because nobody loves me. I’m going to try harder. I’ll do whatever it takes to get people to like me, even if it means doing something wrong.
We don’t have to act like a worm—or a pooch. Feeling loved and accepted starts with our relationship with Jesus, who is the only one able to meet the deepest needs of our life. Talking to Jesus and reading about him in the Bible are steps to strengthening our friendship with him. He laid down his life for us, so it’s obvious that he regards us as friends worth dying for (John 15:13). That’s the best comfort we can find when we wonder if anyone cares!
TALK: When you feel lonely, do you act like a worm or a puppy dog? How can knowing that God loves you keep you from acting that way when you are lonely?
PRAY: God, when we feel all alone, help us to remember that you love us more than we can ever imagine.
ACT: Make time today to be a true friend to someone who feels lonely.