Maybe you are unmarried or not even in a relationship that indicates you are at least a baby step closer to marriage, but you really wish you were. Then all this Valentine’s Day stuff happens, and the loneliness that you endure is highlighted with every email and e-card and cheesy Valentine you see. Facebook posts about undying love sting. Flowers smell less sweet. And even those color-dyed, sugar candies with messages like “kiss me” become annoying rather than cute.
If that’s you, you are not alone.
Believe it or not, I know some folks who are married and feel the same way. Having a mate close to you who is not close at all can be very lonely, too.
I don’t pretend to know how you feel or understand your current pain. It has been over 13 years since Jen and I tied the knot, and I am so grateful for her. But I do hurt for you. I have thought about you this week. I have hoped that you will remember that you are loved, even worth dying for, to a God who has come near.
Now, I am not throwing that out there in a cold, Christian-cliche kind of way. I promise. That’s not intended to be some cure-all salve for your heart, or some “suck-it-up cause you are supposed to be more spiritual than that” kind of message. I sincerely mean it. I pray that you actually believe that, because I have found in the different seasons of my own personal loneliness that remembering that Jesus actually does love me and thinks I am worth dying for is about all that I had to help me endure.
Enduring loneliness is so hard. Hope remains only when hope is believed. Perseverance is strengthened only when a persevering love is present. And focusing your thoughts on what i true is about the only thing that reorients the abstract reality of profound loneliness toward the Emmanuel-reality resurrected unto us in Christ.
The verses that I memorized and quotes over and over and prayed over and over in my own personal loneliness were Philippians 4:4-9. I wanted to share them with you here hoping they will offer encouragement to you.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
May our minds dwell on what is true and real and beautiful, not on the lies and abstractions and ugliness and fears that we tend to imagine for our future when we are walking in the darkness of loneliness.
It will not be any easier, but it will likely lead you down a destructive path unless you let your mind dwell on His imagined future for you rather than on your imagined future.
I hope your future will include a beautiful, difficult, worthwhile marriage. But even if it doesn’t, I pray that you and I both will never, ever, ever forget that to Jesus we are worth dying for.
That’s the Valentine’s Card otherwise known as the cross.
You are loved. I know, I know. You are lonely. But you are not alone. Again, this is just a reminder. A compassionate one.
I pray that somehow in some specific way that this weekend will include a significant reminder of that truth and a near embrace from the God who put on skin to come near.