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March 2017 Issue

Designed by God

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Devotion for Friday, March 17, 2017

We Feel Lonely

Read Psalm 38:1-22

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All my longings lie open before you, Lord. Psalm 38:9

Thousands of lovesick teenagers pined for the objects of their affection when Elvis Presley sang about the Heartbreak Hotel, down at the end of Lonely Street. They felt like his angst-filled love song expressed their feelings well: “I get so lonely, I could die.”

While people usually do not die from loneliness, they may feel as if they could. In today’s psalm, David cries out to God about his painful loneliness.

Verses 1 through 10 describe his desperate condition, which he attributes to God’s wrath or punishment. He was heavy-burdened. He spent his days in mourning. He experienced physical as well as emotional pain. He tells it all to God in verse 9: “All my longings lie open before you.” Nothing is hidden.

David explains that this desperation resulted in loneliness. His friends and companions have all deserted him (v. 11). The only people who gathered around now were his enemies who were bent on destroying him. He compared this soul-wrenching time of loneliness to being deaf or mute, unable to engage with the world around him (vv. 13–14). David knew he had to turn to God. Only God could solve his dilemma. Only God could answer his cry. The end of the psalm ends with a plea for God to intervene (vv. 21–22).

If you remember in Creation, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). We were not created to be lonely. But in a fallen world, sin and suffering (whether our own or that of others) can result in loneliness. This psalm reminds us that God does not ignore our pain. He sees it all. Like David, we can cry to Him in the midst of our loneliness. We were designed to desire companionship, and ultimately only God can satisfy that deep desire.

Apply the Word

You may be feeling alone, or you may know someone struggling with loneliness as the result of losing a job or a spouse. God might use your invitation to a meal or friendly note as a blessing to them. If you are lonely today, open your heart before God. He sees and can help satisfy your need for companionship.

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