This week I’m focusing on the topic of Loneliness. Read Part 1.
In 1 Kings 19, we find the Prophet Elijah sitting alone in a cave, feeling sorry for himself. Despite the great acts that he had just witnessed from God, Elijah was not in a good mood.
After taking part in the defeat of the prophets of Baal, and successfully praying for God to end a drought, he had fled for his life to the wilderness. Even there, miracles abounded as angels provided him food and drink.
Yet still, Elijah was depressed.
In response to God’s question of why he was hiding in a cave, Elijah said:
I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:10, emphasis mine
Elijah was lonely. He had seen the power of God displayed in multiple ways. He knew God was his provider, that God would save him from his pursuers. However, this mighty man of God felt alone.
You can tell that this is the heart of the issue by noting God’s response: He sends Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet in his place, providing Elijah with a companion. Additionally, He tells Elijah that there are 7,000 in Israel who have not turned to worship Baal.
He created us to be relational, with Him and with our fellow human beings.
These words all invoke images of unnatural, unhealthy situations. If someone chooses to seclude themselves away from society, we worry about them, wonder what could be wrong.
It is in this very area that Satan frequently chooses to attack us. Marriages fall apart. Families crumble. Friendships die. Churches split. Businesses fail.
This leaves us feeling isolated, alone, rejected and misunderstood. Stranded, we become gun-shy about opening up to others.
And this is exactly Satan’s plan.
Why does Satan care about our relationships? What does he gain by us feeling isolated and lonely?
Well, here’s what Jesus has to say about the power found in numbers:
Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heave. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. Matthew 18:18-20, emphasis mine
So, if Satan can get us to remain separated from others, he can decrease our effectiveness for the purposes of the God. But that’s not all.
Not only is there power in numbers, but there’s power in diversity.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly… Romans 12:4-6, emphasis mine
We know that iron sharpens iron, and a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. There is strength in working together, alongside others. In times of weakness others can support us, in times of strength we can support others. As much as I’d like to think I do, I don’t have the ability to do it all. We all have our own talents and giftings, things that God has given us to minister to the body with.
Satan is trying to get us to hide in our cave and focus on our fears and feeling of isolation and loneliness instead of working together as a body, supporting and encouraging one another.
Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of the relationship killers that he uses to keep us from being in unity with one another.