None of us lives for ourselves alone and none of us dies for ourselves alone . . . whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
The Pain of Loneliness
A couple of years ago, the magazine Psychology Today had a fascinating article about the function of the human brain. Our diagnostic equipment is now so good that we can actually map the human brain. As we do, we can see what area of the brain becomes active when a person is facing a certain situation. For instance, one area of the brain becomes active when a person is facing danger. Another area of the brain becomes active when the person sits down to a favorite meal.
Researchers decided to try an experiment. They placed someone in a situation where the person had to face loneliness. Their diagnostic equipment lit up. What it told them was a bit jarring. It told them that the area of the brain that becomes active when facing loneliness is the same area of the brain that becomes active when facing physical pain.
Think about that for a moment. According to this experiment, our emotional makeup is such that we process loneliness the same way we process physical pain.
Then again, maybe we don’t need researchers to tell us what we already know. Loneliness hurts. Loneliness brings real pain.
Jesus knows this. He knows this from his own turn at living in this fallen world. More than anyone else, he knows what agony it is to feel isolated, abandoned, alone.
But Jesus doesn’t just feel our pain. He’s done something about it. At the cross, his blood washed our sins away. He removed the wall of our sin between himself and us. That means those who follow him will never be alone again.
Lord Jesus, in those moments when I hurt from loneliness, heal my hurt with your presence. Remind me that, in you, I am never alone. Amen.