Home > Believe > CAGES AND CHAINS – Solitary Confinement • 8/29/21

When God created Adam, he placed him in the Garden of Eden in an absolutely perfect environment—no problems, no stress, no sin. Yet, God looked at all he had created and said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We were created for relationships. Even in the midst of friends and family, we can often feel lonely. Sometimes circumstances make us lonely, as we have seen with the pandemic. People have been isolated from family and friends because of illness and fear of illness. Sometimes we choose to isolate because of problems we are dealing with. Opposition can cause us to withdraw. When someone challenges us or misrepresents us, we pull away. Rejection can also cause us to isolate. When we are betrayed by someone close to us, passed over for a promotion or fired, we feel alone. We may be embarrassed, not want to be exposed, cover up and cage up our hurt and pain. God didn’t intend for us to live in isolation. He intended us to live in community with others, to share one another’s joys, pains, and burdens. 

Scriptures – 2 Ti 4:6-17

Verses – As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. (2 Ti 4:6-7)

Thought – We read in 2 Timothy Chapter 4 that Paul is near death, alone and imprisoned. Although he was experiencing a true cage of isolation and loneliness, he chose to make the best of his situation. He tried to take care of himself as best he could. During times of loneliness and pain we often fail to eat right, don’t get enough rest and ignore the need to exercise. Paying attention to our physical needs during times of pain is essential. Paul utilized his time of isolation by writing most of the New Testament. His imprisonment has benefited every generation since. Don’t waste your time. Use whatever situation you are in to accomplish something. Perhaps we wouldn’t have all of the NT writings we have today if Paul hadn’t been in prison. Paul didn’t hold grudges against those who had hurt and failed him. When he appeared before the judge no one came with him, yet he determined not to hold it against them. Bitterness only brings more isolation. Let it go, give it to God. Paul recognized God’s presence in the midst of his situation. Paul changed many lives for Jesus Christ. He served others rather than focusing on himself. Getting outside yourself and your problems is essential in breaking out of the prison of loneliness. We were created for community. Don’t ignore the need that God has placed within you to connect with others. 

Questions – Has the pandemic caused you to be lonely? Explain. Describe a lonely time in your life? How do you deal with opposition? How do you deal with rejection? Is your tendency to reach out to others for support and encouragement or to go it alone? How have past hurts caused you to isolate? Do you have a person or group of people with whom you can be honest and open? Are you ever embarrassed or ashamed to admit when you are hurt or dealing with a problem? How does your walk with Jesus sustain you in times of pain, hurt and loneliness?

Response – Reach out to someone who is lonely. Visit a shut in or call them. Pay attention to those around you who are socially isolated. Make a difference. A kind word, a smile, a few moments of your time matters to a lonely person. When you are struggling with loneliness due to circumstances, problems or whatever…don’t isolate. Walk with God, reach out to Christian friends.

Prayer – Dear Father in Heaven, help me to walk with you each and every day. I know you are always near and know every detail of my life. May I always seek your strength and power in the midst of my problems, hurts and loneliness. Thank you for my church and Christian friends with whom I can share my heartaches. In Jesus’ Name I pray amen.