Can God Really Fill My Loneliness?

Anonymous asked a question:

As a christian how can we be intimate with God so that he fills the void of companionship?

Hey dear friend, I’m afraid that this might be a false dichotomy. In other words, intimacy with God and companionship with people are not two separate things. Jesus told us the Greatest Commandment is (paraphrased a bit), “Love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength … and love your neighbor as yourself.”

To quote Timothy Keller:

Adam was not lonely because he was imperfect. Adam was lonely because he was perfect. Adam was lonely because he was like God, and therefore, since he was like God, he had to have someone to love, someone to work with, someone to talk to, someone to share with.

All of our other problems—our anger, our anxiety, our fear, our cowardice—arise out of sin and our imperfections. Loneliness is the one problem you have because you’re made in the image of God.

Loneliness is not a sin, but points to a very real need that we’ve had since the very beginning. Certainly, if our loneliness leads us to idolize others or people-please or squeeze unhealthy expectations, then we will be crushed. On the other hand, if we only “rely on God” in a sort of monk-like asceticism, then we will either grow resentful of “these worldly people” or we will never participate in the stream of God’s loving activity, which involves people.

Companionship is also meant to point us to God, too. It’s why John wrote (in one of my favorite verses), “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12).”

It might sound romantic and artsy to walk our faith and lives alone, but there’s always a ceiling on that kind of solo living. The number one way we experience God and His goodness is through the people He has made.

If you’re like me and you wrestle with people-pleasing and codependency, then I think the main thing is to know what people can do for you and what they can’t.

God is always there; people cannot be.

God gives second and third chances; people (sometimes rightly) will not.

God gives us infinite approval; people are not meant to be everything we need them to be all the time.

If you can know that God is the wellspring from which all life flows, then we can be much more emotionally healthy when it comes to interacting with others. We can love them without needing them, because our love is found first in Him.


Photo from Image Catalog, CC by PDM

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