Courage in the Lonely Hour


It is in the midst of loneliness that we learn to rely exclusively on God.

Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Loneliness is a powerful emotion. It can lead to despair, or it can draw us closer to the Lord. It is also a condition for which we were never designed. From the very beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). So, He created Eve. Then came sin, the separator.

Ever since, we have been trying to regain the intimate fellowship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Most of us start this journey to recovery by seeking healthy connections with other people. Friends and family can help enormously, but their presence is no substitute for fellowship with the heavenly Father. In fact, our best friends can sometimes impede our efforts by appearing to offer what God alone can give. Falling for such pretense is idolatry—allowing something to take God’s place.

That is why you see godly individuals throughout the Bible put to the loneliness test. We find examples in the story of Jacob wrestling alone with an angel (Gen. 32:24-32), Elijah standing alone on Mt. Sinai (1 Kings 19:1-21), and even Jesus praying alone in the garden because His friends had fallen asleep (Matt. 26:36-46). In all three cases, the picture is essentially the same.

Such heartrending experiences in our life are designed for one purpose: They bring us to the point where we can discover for ourselves that God is real. The learning process may take a while, but it is much more likely that we will rely on God if there is no one else to hang on to. When we experience utter loneliness, we can cling to the promise, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

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