Escape From the Prison
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Often loneliness is seen as a prison from which there is no hope of escape. But God is always with us!
Awakening to God's presence heals loneliness. He never abandons or ceases to care for us. God is our ever-present friend in times of darkness, as well as times of joy and peace. Understanding this dissipates loneliness as surely as the sun's rays pierce gloomy fog.
I was in the military, stationed in a distant country without my family for several months. I didn't know anyone. I wasn't even very enthusiastic about the assignment. The day I arrived I was overwhelmed by loneliness and hopelessness. I assumed that nothing but human companionship could bring relief.
Reluctantly unpacking my things, I pulled out my Bible. Opening to Psalm 139, I searched for solace and consolation. These comforting words brought me immediate healing: "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (verses 8-10). This showed me that I had always been in God's care, never outside His love. I saw that His presence isn't confined to territorial limitations. I began to feel the warmth of His love. And when I did I no longer felt alone!
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church, wrote of God as a "gentle presence, peace and joy and power," whose "habitation high is here, and nigh," and whose "arm encircles me, and mine, and all" (Poems, p. 4). The "gentle presence" of God establishes an atmosphere of peace when loneliness threatens to conquer you. It brings joy when despair is ready to overwhelm you and strengthens you when you feel weak and alone. In my loneliness the assurance of God's love sustained me and opened my eyes to the presence of good right in the middle of a tough situation. The military assignment became a time of spiritual growth for me. Each day I found more evidence of God's presence expressed-in new friendships, challenging work, and the beauty of the country I was serving in.
Most people have struggled with loneliness. Work-related moves, broken relationships, and a host of other experiences can make loneliness seem like a way of life to be accepted and endured. But that's not God's way. He is always present with us, and this fact brings healing to all situations.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy asks, "Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank?" It answers: "Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love. When this hour of development comes, even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth" (p. 266).
Turning to God does not deprive us of the relationships and circumstances we hold dear; it enriches them through the sustaining and empowering love of God. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38, 39).
During that assignment abroad I discovered that God had never left me. The truth I found in the Bible opened a way for me to perceive His presence and love in ways I had not before envisioned.
If loneliness threatens your happiness, be assured that the promises of the Bible were written for you, too. God is present in every aspect of your life. He cares for you in days of sadness and trouble. He provides strength in weakness, light in darkness, and direction when you are lost. There are therefore no problems that you must face alone. The fulfillment of His promises comes in immediate healing and lasting peace.
Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.