I’m quite certain that there are many of you who are lonely. I know the feeling. It’s that empty, aching spot in the pit of your stomach, that quiet desperateness that makes life seem meaningless and makes you feel worthless. Loneliness always seems worse during holiday seasons, but God’s Word shows us how to cope with it.

Someone has said that “All man’s history is an endeavor to shatter his loneliness.” We are designed by God for fellowship, for companionship and when it is missing, it affects our motivation, our self-respect, our happiness—almost every part of our lives.

However, we must recognize that loneliness and aloneness are two different things. You can be lonely in a crowd or in a group of friends, or with a mate or friend right there with you. Or you can be all by yourself for extended periods of time and yet not be lonely. Loneliness is a feeling, not a set of circumstances.

Our culture has conditioned us to believe that if you are a worthy person, if you’re normal, you won’t be alone very much. Therefore, aloneness makes many people feel unwanted, unloved, unnecessary, unworthy—and that is the content and the pain of loneliness.

A single woman in her late twenties shared an experience with me which I think points out our society’s attitude about aloneness. Since her church had no class for singles, she joined in with the young couples group, which was taught by the pastor’s wife. One Sunday she didn’t make it to Sunday School, and her teacher said to her, “I’m so sorry you weren’t at Sunday School today. I was really counting on you being there because I knew you’d have lots of good input for our discussion, since we were talking about loneliness today.”

People automatically assume that being single means you’re lonely because they think that being alone is the worst thing in the world.

This mistaken notion about aloneness causes people to do the most incredible things to avoid being by themselves. I know, because I’ve done some of them. I’ve gone to places I should never have gone to, I’ve been with people I should never have been with, I’ve spent money I never should have spent, just to avoid being alone.