An Answer for Loneliness
Jesus "appointed twelve [disciples] Ö that they might be with him."1
"Loneliness, it's such a sad affair," Karen Carpenter expressed in her popular song some years back. Apparently she knew firsthand what she was singing about as she ended her own life through self-starvation. Perhaps you, too, know too well the pains of loneliness.
While we have made profound scientific and technological advances in today's world, sadly we have not kept pace with meeting the needs of the human heart and spirit. One of the high costs of this failure has been the ever-increasing sense of loneliness and isolation that pervades contemporary society.
As Selwyn Hughes wisely said, "To be is to be in relationships," without which life can be empty and meaningless. One significant answer to this increasing malady is seen in the dramatic increase of the small-group movementóboth within and without the church. Small groups, of course, are nothing new, but support-and-recovery type groups formed to meet almost every need imaginable have mushroomed in many places today. They are proving to be very effective. For example, one of the best-known methods for helping people overcome alcoholism is the twelve-step AA groups. And help for the spouses of alcoholics can be found in Alanon groups.
Small groups, at least as far as the Christian church is concerned, began with Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry he "appointed twelve [disciples] that they might be with him." He then had an inner group made up of himself, Peter, James, and John, and then an intimate group with himself and John. If Jesus and his disciples needed this kind of connection and support, it sounds like an excellent example for all of us to follow.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to find the support I need to help me grow more like Jesus, overcome personal problems, and so I won't be lonely. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Mark 3:14 (NIV).