Tracey Crouch, UK MP First Minister of Loneliness

Over the last decade, the problem of loneliness has frequently been covered in the news. Counselors and psychiatrists confirm the problem is intensifying. Political leaders are responding. On January 17, 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced the creation of a new cabinet role in her government – a Minister of Loneliness. “May stated, “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life.” The announcement cited the statistic that more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely in the UK.” Tracy Crouch MP has become the UK’s first Minister of Loneliness. (1)

The 19th Surgeon General of the United States authored the cover article for the Harvard Business Review, September, 2017 regarding the ‘loneliness epidemic’. Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy wrote:

19th USA Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades…… During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness. (2)

Vertical Loneliness

More than one respected physician has said that frequently the underlying issue for many of their patients presenting with physical or emotional concerns is nothing other than a spiritual issue.

Have you experienced loneliness? Certainly, it is not uncommon for people who have been traumatized by the loss of loved ones to experience intense loneliness. But what about the millions who have family and friends and are connected multiple ways online? How can their loneliness be explained?

People believe their loneliness is primarily caused by what they are or are not experiencing horizontally with other people. But there is a far deeper and more significant issue you need to consider. How connected are you vertically with your Maker?

It is a very lonely experience to be estranged or cut-off from family or friends horizontally; but the most basic human need of having a healthy and happy relationship with your Creator-God is far more critical to your well-being and your future than any other relationship.

Secular Society Living Without God

The correlation of an increasingly secular society and the growing problem of loneliness would be an interesting study for sociologists. Living without God is a hollow and lonely life. Read some of the stories on about celebrities and stars who have been successful beyond their wildest dreams – and yet, they are lonely, empty and struggle constantly with an inner void.

Look at these 2017 statistics about how connected we are horizontally – but rather than abating or declining, the problem of loneliness is ubiquitous.

Statistics Source:

The Holy Bible informs us that we were designed and created by God and built with an inner-capacity to enjoy a vertical and fulfilling relationship with the eternal God. (Isaiah 43:7, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

In the beginning, God said, “Let us make man in our [Trinity] image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

If this is our roots, how can any human ever expect to experience true fulfillment and peace, if the most fundamental relationship is non-existent with their Creator? Will the Minister of Loneliness address this critical question? While she is turning over the all the stones in her search for answers to the loneliness epidemic, will she look under this one? Will she look in the Operating Manual that God gave us – the Bible?

Regardless of what we fill our life with or who fills it, if God is outside, inside we will be lonely.

All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society. – Albert Einstein, 1949 (3)

With due respect Mr. Einstein, you were wrong on your last point. People who devoted their entire lives to altruistic and philanthropic endeavours, confessed they were still lonely inside, e.g. Mother Teresa.  A life devoted to society may bring a sense of worthy accomplishment but not true meaning at the deepest level.

God’s Operating Manual

The big-story of the Bible is how that critical relationship was broken and severed by selfish sin, causing incalculable human grief, suffering and loneliness. (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:17) That’s the dark reality. Woven throughout the chapters of the Bible is the story of redemption and how God made the first move in reconciling that broken relationship by sending His Son Jesus to die for our sins. (Romans 5:8, 2Corinthians 5:19)

The cross was God’s big “I love you!” to a rebellious planet and broken sinners. When I read my Bible, here’s the message I hear God repeatedly saying to us: “Regardless of what you think of Me, regardless of how you treat Me – I love you and I gave My Son [at the cross] to suffer the punishment sin deserves and I require. Through Him, I will righteously forgive you of every sin and give you an abundant and eternal life, peace and an unbreakable vertical relationship with Myself. I will not force you into this vertical relationship, but I want you to know, My arms are wide open to embrace you and welcome you into My family forever.”

Those of us who have entered into that vertical relationship have a deep inner peace and comfort – even when tears of loneliness for lost loved ones are flowing. Alone, but not alone, because we experience the presence of Christ in our hearts.

A Constant and Unconditional Friend Available to You Today

No, it’s not fanciful or mystical thinking – Jesus Christ is a real and constant Friend to those who know Him personally as their Saviour.

A true Christian has this assurance from God: “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.” Hebrews 13:5 Yes, we wrote it in all-caps because in the original Greek, this verse is very emphatic, definite and full of intentional assurance.

Jesus said: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Jesus said: “Whoever comes to Me, I will never cast out [reject].” John 6:37

As terrible as it is to experience loneliness in this life, but no mind can imagine how dreadful it must be to die without knowing Christ and to experience loneliness forever.

Run to the open arms of Christ today. Believe Him. Accept Him. Receive Him.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. John 1:12

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