“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17 NIV
Your Loneliness Level
What is your loneliness level, right now?
On a low scale of “very lonely” to a high scale of “not lonely at all,” where would you place yourself?
My level has spiked from the low end to near the high end in just two weeks. What’s the reason?
The key difference is I intentionally spent time with friends, face-to-face.
I love the writing life. A true introvert, I relish the perfect quiet of my home office. Other than the sound of the refrigerator running, I can’t hear anything else, and I love it. But it’s very different from the atmosphere where I worked a couple years ago. I had built-in friend time with several dear co-workers every single weekday. What a treasure!
Now that I’m in a more isolated situation, I must work harder to spend time with friends. The phone just doesn’t cut it for me. I need live interaction. That’s why I attend a small group every week and Bible study every Wednesday morning.
Friend time doesn’t come without sacrifice. It can cost precious time and money. A good friendship is also going to cost you some vulnerability and probably a few tears. But it’s so worth it, because friendships can uniquely strengthen our faith. It’s so true, a friend loves at all times!
The biblical friendship that stands out most to me is the one between David and Jonathan. In 1 Samuel 18, David meets Jonathan for the first time, after killing Goliath. They enjoyed “an immediate bond.” Two couldn’t be more opposite: a prince and a shepherd. Yet “Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 18:3 NLT
I wonder if David felt lonely as a shepherd. The book of Psalms seems to indicate that he did feel lonely at times. I wonder if he felt rejected and excluded by his older, taller, stronger brothers.
I wonder if Jonathan felt lonely as a king’s son. Maybe he never connected with his father or his siblings. Maybe in all his wealth, he carried a secret loneliness around every day, and it didn’t end until he met David.
Their friendship blessed both of them in unforeseen ways. Jonathan helped David escape death (1 Samuel 20), and David rescued and provided for Jonathan’s son (2 Samuel 9).
We never know how much someone else needs our friendship. It’s impossible to tell, based on appearance. Especially on social media.
When you can look into the eyes of a friend, and you see their expressions and hear their sighs or laughs, you can tell how much they need you. And you can love them as you love yourself.
I encourage you today to stop sliding further down the loneliness scale. Make an appointment for a face-to-face meeting with friends sometime this week. You will not regret any sacrifice you have to make, and you’ll return refreshed and renewed with greater peace in your heart.
Questions for your reflection:
- Which friend comes to mind first when you think about scheduling a meeting?
- When can you make time in your schedule for this friend in the next few days?
- What steps can you take to create regular face-to-face interactions with friends?