“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”
This is quite a significant story in the Bible, not just because we now understand why we have different languages in different parts of the world. It also speaks of false idols and pride, something that goes hand in hand. This story was set in a time following the great flood and they were so proud of how wonderful they had made their nation they wanted to make a symbol and one that reached the heavens so that they didn’t need God anymore. God didn’t like their pride and arrogance and so He caused some confusion so they couldn’t continue with their work.
We build our own “Tower of Babels” in our lives: money, material possessions, relationships, job titles, talents etc. Without realising it, we’re relying on sources that are not from God to meet our needs and reach our goals. We try to play God in our lives, as we make human efforts to get that house we always wanted or get our relationships where we want it to be. We find our worth in our financial status, or by the material possessions we have, or the job title we have, instead of finding our worth in Jesus Christ.
Every moment we make a human attempt without relying on God, we’re building that “Tower of Babel” in our lives higher and higher. That’s when we find ourselves in a difficult position, where God wants to catch our attention and help us to learn to become completely dependant on Him as our Provider, our Comforter, our Source!
I have found myself personally at a crossroads and wondering how on earth I got there. It’s in these moments where God wants to teach us and we need to look out for His voice. He gracefully breaks us to position us.
I’ll be honest in telling all of you, I have made so many human attempts to make my life better, to chase after money and material possessions, even to solve relationship issues. The truth is: every time I failed, and I failed until I hit rock bottom and God wanted to catch my attention. I never knew I was riddled with so much pride until the day I found myself knocking on the doors of a homeless shelter / mission station looking for a place to stay. At first I was angry, super angry at God for failing me, but then as I listened and drew closer to Him, I realised He was trying to catch my attention in an area I had no idea was an even an issue.
Trust has always been a bit of a problem for me, and so I admit I battle on my faith journey at the best of times. One thing I do know is that everytime I’ve left it in God’s hands He has never failed me. Once we leave it in God’s hands, we can’t take it back and make human attempts to accomplish whatever it is we are doing. Let Him completely take the steering wheel. He knows what He is doing. While we are waiting, He is working.
So often when we’re going through a hard time, we see it as the enemy trying to attack us, which can also be true. If we focus too much on it being the enemy’s attack though, we will magnify the enemy. Whenever the enemy tries to attack, God will use it for your good, listen out for the lesson and you will magnify God’s hand in your situation.
I want to encourage you to find what your “Tower of Babel” is in your life and work at allowing God into that space to heal and refresh your trust in Him. Allow your strength in all areas of your life to come from Him. God is faithful in all His promises, He is waiting for us to find rest in Him and surrender every area of our lives to Him.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
You’re busy getting hubby and kids ready for the day, you’re happy and love them very much but there’s a part of you that finds strength being around them. You’re very aware that once they leave for work and school, the house won’t have that beautiful sound of the breakfast work / school rush and you will be left alone in silence to go about your own day. When they leave, the uncomfortable silence sets in and suddenly you can hear the birds chirping outside and the sound of your own movements. Loneliness sets in and you’re not sure what to do next. You find anything at all to distract you from this troubling sense of loneliness. Day in and day out this is how you feel and you just can’t understand it but you hate being alone.
Or how about this:
You’re at an event, you look around the room at the different circles of people and all the different conversations going on. Some seem to be very serious intense conversations, some happy and laughing, some joking. You’re very aware that you’re standing either alone or in a circle of people you don’t really fit in with. Your mind trails off to that underlying sense of loneliness you feel even in a room of people, and you feel overwhelmed by the crowd. Social anxiety sets in and you wish you could just leave but you also know that when you do, you will be in the uncomfortable silence of your loneliness and there won’t be anyone to distract you and so you stay. You join conversations trying your best to be interested in what’s going on but your mind keeps trailing off into a world of your own while you fake some smiles and laughs to make it look like you’re paying attention to them. In the meanwhile, you have a burning sense of loneliness inside of you.
At some point in our lives, we have all felt this way and can relate. For some of us, this is a daily struggle that we need to try and overcome or distract ourselves from. For me, loneliness is something that comes and goes. I decided to do a little study and write this article in hopes to bring some encouragement to you.
What is Loneliness?
If we look in the dictionary, the description of the word loneliness is a sadness because one has no company or friends. If this is the case, then why do we even feel this way in a room full of people? If we look at the synonyms for the word l0oneliness, we will see that it is feelings of isolation, being excluded, abandonment or rejection.
Loneliness includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection or communication. It can be felt when we’re alone, even when we’re surrounded by other people. It can be felt in marriages, relationships, families and even in those with successful careers. It’s not an uncommon feeling, although for many it is temporary and some more permanent depending on their life circumstances or experiences.
The effects of Loneliness
Loneliness is linked with depression and can be a risk factor for suicide. It affects relationships, being able to function daily and can even affect our health. Chronic loneliness has proven to have links to physical health issues as it increases Cortisol in the body. High Cortisol can cause anxiety, depression, digestive, heart and sleep problems, as well as weight gain.
What does the Bible say about loneliness?
The Bible doesn’t directly speak about loneliness but we can take a look at a few characters in the Bible who spoke of feelings of despair and loneliness or fear when being alone.
Elijah felt lonely and afraid after he fleed into a far away desert when Queen Jezebel wanted to kill all those who worshipped God. He cried out to God with feelings of fear and loneliness. God told Him that there are still other friends who also worship God and love him who would be there for him. He comforted him and told him to be brave. In this story we learn that loneliness doesn’t come from being alone, it comes from thinking we are alone.
1 Kings 19:1-18
Jeremiah wrestled with a great sense of loneliness and defeat, he was very insecure. He suffered great rejection from people he loved and reached out to. God had called Him to preach, not marry or have children. In the midst of it all he was a man of great spiritual faith and cried out to God honestly as he wrestled with his despair. Despite his loneliness he followed God’s calling for His life. In Jeremiah 15 we see his desperate cry to God. In this we learn that when we feel lonely or despaired we cry out to God but we remain faithful to Him, He understands.
David battled with depression and feelings of deep despair and loneliness. We see all throughout the Psalms how he calls on God, worships and praises Him through His loneliness asking God to come into those lonely places and fill the void. David longed to be connected with God and brutally honest about his feelings to God. Through David we learn that when we speak to God about our feelings we can know we can be honest with God about how we are feeling. God is someone we can be real with and our relationship with Him is a safe place, it’s ok to tell Him how you are feeling.
During Jesus’ time on earth he was rejected, ridiculed, laughed at during His time here on earth. He must of experienced a great level of loneliness, grief and despair as He walked this earth. If anyone understands loneliness it would be Jesus. On the cross when Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world, there was even a moment where He felt lonely when He cried out to His Father asking why He had forsaken Him. We learn here that even Jesus understood loneliness and despair, which means we can certainly express our feelings to Him because he understands.
How do we overcome loneliness?
We can take a look at some of God’s promises in the Bible.
God recognised loneliness in Adam and He saw it was not good, so He created a companion for Him in Eve. Genesis 2:18
We are designed to be in community with others. By God’s design we have a need to be loved and to feel like we belong. When that need for affection and fellowship goes unfulfilled, we experience loneliness.
A walk with God is a solid foundation for building healthy relationships with others. God designed us for fellowship with Him and fellowship with others. If we seek Him at all times and are in relationship with Him, He will comfort us in our moments of loneliness or despair. If we take a look at how some of the characters in the Bible dealt with their loneliness, we find the answers.
“Keep my eyes always on the Lord, with Him at my right hand I will not be shaken” Psalm 16:8
God is all around us, His presence never leaves us. He promises to never leave or forsake us and in Romans 8:31-39 we also learn that nothing can separate us from His love. It may feel like we’re alone but if we seek God we will find Him. He promises to give us rest when we are troubled or burdened.
” Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave nor forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:6
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7
Sometimes we put God in a little box and take Him out when we need Him and if we do that we won’t feel how close He is to us. If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us and be with us all the time. Keep that line of communication open, He loves us so deeply.
“Come near to God and He will come near to you” James 4:8
“There is a friend closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24
God created us, He loves and cares for us deeply. He may not have promised that life here on earth would be easy but He does promise to be there for us, to comfort us, to bring us rest and peace, to bring us joy through His Holy Spirit who is with us all the time.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3
Create an environment for yourself to experience the love of God whenever you’re feeling this way and take rest and comfort in Him.
I pray this gives you some encouragement knowing that you are not alone in this struggle.
Have you ever been in a position where you felt God has failed you? You have tried to do everything right, prayed through your situation, praised Him regardless, surrendered the problem to God, etc…
But then He doesn’t seem to be holding up His end of the bargain and everything feels like a big mess? You wonder where He is and why He is so quiet and why He has failed you?
I guess we all feel like this sometimes, no matter the hardship we are facing. At some point we all wonder where God is and why we are going through the things we do.
Truth is – God has not left us alone and has not failed us. He would never do the things to us that happen in our lives. He just allows it for a greater purpose. He can turn any situation into good, he can use every circumstance, every failure, every pain for His good and for your good!
When we feel he has failed us, it’s most likely because we are trusting in our own plans for our lives and not His plan for our lives. His plan is much greater than our plans and so we need to trust him when He says wait or when He says no. Later on we will be grateful for that wait, or that no, when we see the blessings He has in store for us. He is working in the waiting.
I read this article on this evening and it is really super encouraging and helpful with guidelines on what to do in the waiting.
Trust in God’s plan for your life. His plans are much bigger than ours could ever be. Trust that He knows what’s best for us.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Rest in Him
Rest in Him, God knows what He is doing. He will give you rest over your situation.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Surrender the situation to God and He will give you rest. When we surrender God has more room to open doors for us according to His plan for our lives. When we pray He will give us peace.
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6
What I have found looking back on situations in my past and even present is that God’s hand is in it even if we don’t see it immediately. He provides small miracles throughout every trial, they are there if we’re open to seeing them. You will see how He has protected you, comforted you or provided for you in whatever situation you may be facing.
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
I trust that this would give you some encouragement for those really tough moments when you feel like God has failed you. Thank you for reading!