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Loneliness can make you sickOctober 1, 2018
According to a 2018 study sponsored by the global insurer company Cigna, young people between the ages of 18-22 are far more likely than senior citizens to report being lonely and in poor health. The prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern because loneliness is seen not just as a societal problem according to Cigna, but also because it can literally make us sick. Loneliness actually has the same effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, which makes it even more dangerous than obesity, says Cigna.
The 27-year-old Swedish EDM DJ Alesso recently released a song called Remedy. The first time I listened to the song I was emotionally stirred. And it was not because of the catchy melody but because of these words;
I didn't know that I was broken
Until I found my missing piece
It seemed like every door was closing on me
And you were so far out of reach
I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe
That loneliness is my decease
I didn't have no one to turn to
Yeah, I was circling the drain,
Now you show me I can learn too, yeah
How to be okay again
When my 22-year old son and I listened to the song and talked about it, we agreed that God created everyone in his image. But because of the fall of man every living, breathing human being is separated from God and longs to find answers to those existential questions of where did I come from, what is my purpose in life, can real love be found in this life and what happens after I die. And when we don’t find answers to these questions we look to places, people and things that ultimately will never satisfy. I believe the younger generation is figuring that out much quicker than their parents did which is why loneliness has reached epidemic proportions among our youth. And the great irony is that our youth are more connected socially than any other generation before them.
Even King David cried out to God with these words in Psalm 25:16, Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. David uttered this cry to the same God who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147). Believer, I promise you if you don’t battle loneliness yourself, you know someone who does. There are people living right here in our community, lost people, who suffer from loneliness and have no idea that though there is tribulation and suffering in this life, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).
One of the practical ways you can be a light to the lost and lonely is by volunteering to be part of our outreach to the community through Trunk or Treat on October 31st. I can guarantee that there will be parents and children walking around our church parking lot who are lost, hurting, broken, lonely and without real and lasting hope. I looked into the eyes of a number of lost children and their parents last year as I handed out candy from the rear of my Volvo station wagon. Please make yourself available to serve and help. But even more importantly, be prepared to open your mouth and speak words of comfort, words of hope that Jesus overcame the world when he died for our sins, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.