ONE of the problems confronting people is the challenge of loneliness. It's something many people have to face in some way or other, whether they have large families they know will one day leave home, or have no family at all. There is no easy human answer to loneliness. Even cramming our life full of friends doesn't always take the sting of loneliness out of our hearts.
There is, however, a spiritual answer. The Bible, with its message of God's love, has helped many people overcome loneliness. It has brought the recognition of God's presence companioning each individual heart. The Bible teaches that God is omnipresent Spirit. One of the psalms speaks for each and every one of us, when it says so beautifully: ``Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?'' (139:7). When we feel even a hint of the divine ever-presence, how can we continue to feel alone?
God, infinite Spirit, is All-in-all. His infinite omnipresence and omnipotence deny reality and activity to evil. From God's point of view, loneliness is impossible. He has neither created nor sanctioned isolation. God, divine Love, knows, and reveals to us through Christ, His own fullness of being. He is the very life of each and every one of us. God sees us as His spiritual ideas. And as His offspring we are harmoniously and happily companioned by, and embraced in, His eternally enduring love.
The times that this doesn't seem to be so are the very times that we most need to affirm prayerfully that it is so despite the evidence to the contrary! For God's omnipresent love is what is truly real. When my mother passed on rather suddenly, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the loss that I felt. The gap in my happiness that her absence left seemed crushing. I was overcome by grief. I needed help, and I decided to ask a friend who is also a Christian Scientist to pray for me. I wrote her a letter and ran down the road to post it.
As soon as I returned home my telephone rang. It was a friend who knew that I was a Christian Scientist. She wasn't well and wanted my help! I started to pray for her, and as I did so the cloud of loneliness lifted as if it had never existed. My friend was also healed. A couple of days later I got a reply to my letter asking for help. It couldn't have summarized my experience better. The friend I'd written told me, ``Remember, your love is needed just where you are!'' In expressing love by helping someone else, the veil of aloneness had been lifted.
It isn't according to God's plan for any of us to be lonely, even at times when we literally are alone. Surely in all human history there is no record of a more lonely moment than the one Christ Jesus experienced on the cross. Utterly cut off from all human help and solace, the Saviour cried, ``My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'' (Matthew 27:46) Yet God hadn't forsaken his beloved Son. And as Jesus faithfully held to the spiritual truth that this was so--a fact which seemed so pointedly contradicted by events-- his ensuing resurrection proved this truth emphatically.
As we look to divine Love to raise us from any loneliness we may be experiencing, we can legitimately identify ourselves as eternally at one with God. Our need is never really for more friends or a family, though these may be the precious, practical evidences of our answered prayer. Our real need is to get to know our one infinite friend, God, much, much better. The knowledge and recognition of God's love are the direct and satisfying answer to our prayer.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!'' (p. 520). The cure to loneliness, then, is an awakening to the presence of God, infinite good.
The Father hath not left me alone.