We live in a lonely world. Despite all of the resources available for us to connect with others, far too many people feel disconnected and lonely. People seem to be too busy to connect with others in meaningful ways.
Christians struggle with loneliness too. As people of faith, we turn to the Bible and look for Bible verses about loneliness. We also search for stories of loneliness in the Bible that can give us hope and remind us that we are not alone.
Christians are not Alone in their Loneliness
Research says that one in five Americans are lonely. Furthermore, almost half of us feel that we are “always or sometimes feel alone,” or we feel like we are left out. More than half of us feel that no one really knows us well. If you feel lonely, know that you are not alone!
Many Christians experienced loneliness in spite of being a part of a church. Sadly, some church members are not interested in reaching out to new people and making real connections. There is a difference between being a friendly church and be-friending people.
Bible Verses about Loneliness
How does the Bible talk about loneliness? The Bible uses words like downcast, broken-hearted, troubled, miserable, despairing, mourning, and hopelessness. Not all of these words mean the same thing as lonely, but many of them overlap with loneliness. They all express the painful ideas of being disconnected, overlooked, or forgotten.
“God sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:6a NIV
“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This, too, is meaningless— a miserable business!” Ecclesiastes 4:8
“Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:11 NIV
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 15:34 ESV
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.” Psalm 25:16-17 NIV
“Instead, he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.” Mark 1:45 NIV
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 NIV
“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” Genesis 32:24 NIV
“I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.” Job 7:16 NIV
“I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.” Jeremiah 15:17 NIV
What does Loneliness in the Bible Tell Us about Ourselves?
Loneliness is a common struggle. For many, the battle with loneliness draws them closer to God. In fact, drawing closer to God is one of the ways that we battle loneliness. Research says that people who read the Bible four times or more a week are “thirty percent less likely to struggle with loneliness.”
We are created for connection. Men and women are created in the image of God. What do we know about God? We know that relationship is a defining characteristic of God. As Christians, we worship the three in one: Father, Son, and Spirit. As creatures created in God’s image, it is therefore natural that we need to connect with others.
Of course, our most crucial connection comes from our relationship with God. We want to be fully known and loved. We might struggle to find love, acceptance, and connection with other people, but it is always there for us with Jesus.
Stories of Loneliness in the Bible
Many of the lives of the people of the Bible include periods of loneliness. You are not alone. Even people important to our faith have battled with loneliness, and their stories stand as testimonies for us.
Lonely Leah (Genesis 29)
Leah was the first wife of Jacob. Her sister was the second wife. Leah always felt that her sister was loved more, and she was right. Can you imagine the loneliness of competing with your sister for your husband’s love and affection?
Loneliness and Hagar & Ismael (Genesis 21)
Hagar was the servant of Sarah, who bore a son for Abraham, Ishmael. Sarah’s jealousy towards her cause Hagar and her son to be cast out into the desert. She even sat down to die because she and her son were totally alone and without help. Can you image the loneliness she felt for herself and her child? (God rescued her and her son.)
Lonely Miriam (Numbers 12)
Miriam was the sister of Moses. In her jealousy, she questioned Moses’ leadership. Her punishment was to be struck with leprosy and be shut outside of the camp alone for seven days. Moses and Aaron pleaded to God on her behalf, but she still had to be outside the camp for seven days before she could be restored. Seven days may not seem long until you wonder how much danger she was in all alone. Loneliness can make us very vulnerable.
Elijah’s Loneliness (1 Kings 17)
Elijah was called to prophesy against Ahab, the King of Israel, and proclaim a drought sent by God. Of course, immediately afterward, Elijah had to flee for his life. He went into the wilderness where the ravens brought food to him. Then when the water dried up, God called him even further into exile, all the way to Zarephath. Eventually, he ended up in the home of a widow and her son. Elijah did the will of God, and yet he was still an outsider far from home.
Loneliness & Jeremiah (Jeremiah)
Jeremiah was a prophet called by God. His was a lonely calling. Known as the Weeping Prophet, Jeremiah was forbidden to marry and thus had no wife and no children. Called to speak words of repentance, Jeremiah was often rejected by those that he was actually serving. When you are rejected by those who you want to serve and to love, the pain is real.
Lonely King David (Psalm 142:4)
“Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.”
David’s path to the throne was challenging and lengthy. He spent time in the wilderness wandering to keep away from King Saul. When he was eventually on the throne, did he still deal with loneliness? You can be surrounded by people who only kind to you for what it gets them. Even all the wealth and power of a King cannot substitute for real connection and belonging.
The Loneliness of the Bleeding Woman (Mark 5:25-34)
Can you image bleeding for twelve long years? This unnamed woman in the gospel of Mark was sick and had been suffering for a long time.
Her sickness has isolated her from others too. She was ceremoniously unclean. She could not go to the temple with the other women. She could not sit where other people sat, even at home, or they would become unclean. If she went out in public, others had to know that she was unclean, so that didn’t touch her. Can you imagine twelve long years with no one allowed to touch you?
This woman was desperate for her loneliness to be healed. Can you imagine the courage it had to take to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak secretly? Can you imagine the even greater courage it took to answer Jesus? “But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.” (v.33)
When we are lonely for so long, it is incredibly hard to reach out and connect with others. When this woman overcome her fear, she was healed.
Even Jesus was Lonely
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 15:34 ESV
These were the words spoken by Christ right before He died on the cross. Suffering can be lonely. Dying can be lonely. The Last Supper was a lonely meal for Jesus. He was dining with friends that He had spent the last three years pouring into, and yet, he knew that some would deny him, and one would actively betray him after the meal was over.
Afterward, he took his friends with him to a garden to pray. He told them how burdened his heart was and asked them to “watch” and to pray. Three times, he had to wake them up when they all fell asleep.
His closest friends surrounded Jesus, yet he felt alone and forsaken. This crowd of friends could not make up for the loneliness of the impending cross. Jesus was forsaken so that he could make a way for us to be reunited with God. He laid down his life for YOU.
Biblical Hope for Loneliness
You are not alone in your loneliness. The witness of these real people from the Bible testifies to the reality of our experience. Sometimes lonely has a purpose. Sometimes loneliness is just because of the sinfulness of this world. The pain of it is real.
Know that God loves you. You are loved so much that while we were still sinners, Jesus came to die for us. God knows you, and even despite all of your brokenness and an unworthiness – Jesus laid down his life for you.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Fight loneliness with reading the Bible. Fight loneliness by pouring your heart out to God, who listens and hears you. Battle loneliness by bravely seeking out others who are lonely too and building biblical friendships.
Perhaps the best way to do that is to start a Bible study with even just one other person. For we are promised in the Bible that: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
The voice behind FaithfulMotherhood.com is Jyn. She is a veteran homeschool mom of three. More than just a pastor’s wife, she holds a Master of Divinity degree and has served in church leadership for over 20 years. Her passion is equipping parents to live out their calling as the number one faith influencer for their children. She longs to see moms empowered by God’s Word and transferring that love to their children through daily Bible study and family devotions.