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Facing loneliness
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In the Broadway spoof "Spamalot" there is a poignant scene where King Arthur is lamenting his plight and feeling isolated and alone. During this dark moment his knights rejoin him and sing, "He's all alone, apart from us" to which Arthur then picks up and sings, "Each one of us is all alone. So what are we to do in order to get through? We must be lonely side by side, it's the perfect way to hide."

There is a lot of insight in those words penned by Eric Idle. Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in our society. Parents note that children today always have to have either music playing in their ears or a television has to be on. That is true not only of children but of parents themselves. Cell phones are more than a convenience; they have become another tool in our arsenal to hold loneliness at bay. We don't know how to be quiet for fear that in our quietness we will like Arthur in the spoof discover we're all alone. This condition is not new. Way back in the 17th century Blaise Pascal observed that men constantly seek diversion because they cannot stay quietly in their own chambers.

What is the cause of this horrid psychological pandemic? And, once we know the cause is there really any cure? I believe both cause and cure are available to anyone willing to seek them.

I believe the cause is what some psychologist have labeled "cosmic loneliness," we are lonely for God. Blaise Paschal observed, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ."

This cosmic loneliness is a result of our separation from God; a separation due to sin. This sin is an interesting monster. The greater it is, the less we suspect its presence. Furthermore, it seems we would rather deny its existence (and will go to great lengths to justify that denial) rather than admit its presence and seek forgiveness. Make no mistake about this. The flap over evolution versus creation has nothing to do with good science or established facts. We are bent on creating a world devoid of God because if there is no God then in reality there is no sin.

Evolutionist Jeremy Rifken expressed the thought best when he wrote, "We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else's home and, therefore, obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer feel beholden to outside forces. We no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever."

So rather than admit and address the problem, we are seeking - to our own harm I might add - to deny and discount the problem. The problem is our approach is not working, and we find ourselves increasingly isolated and alienated from the one person who can give us hope.

If the cause of this loneliness is separation from God (and I believe it is), the cure for the curse is reconciliation. Since God is the offended party, he is the one who must (and did) make a way by which we can be put back into proper relationship with him. The Bible gives us the answer, "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, 'Come back to God!' For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, NLT).

Maybe you struggle with loneliness and you've tried everything to no avail. Why not try God? When we are right with him, there may be times of loneliness but we will never be lonely alone.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016. Send e-mail to john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.orgĀ