Not all loneliness flows from the curse, but from our operating system. Unlike flowers and trees, we as humans are vulnerable to loneliness because God created us in His image.
“Adam was not lonely because he was imperfect. Adam was lonely because he was perfect. Adam was lonely because he was like God, and therefore, since he was like God, he had to have someone to love, someone to work with, someone to talk to, someone to share with. All of our other problems—our anger, our anxiety, our fear, our cowardice—arise out of sin and our imperfections. Loneliness is the one problem you have because you’re made in the image of God.” – Tim Keller
Other sources of loneliness can be out of our control. In Psalm 25, David cries out to the Lord to rescue him from his enemies, rejection, attacks, and shame. Loneliness, however, by itself leaves us vulnerable to where sin can dominate our lives.
“Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness it poisons the whole being of a person.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The solution to this loneliness is not to stare at the problem. Turning inward only makes the problem worse, as Dietrich points out. The solution starts by reframing how we connect with God. Crying out to the Lord just as David did in Psalm 25. “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; Free me from my anguish. Consider my affliction and my distress.” Perhaps we should consider praying differently.
A second step in this solution is reframing how we connect with others. One of the reasons we struggle to deeply connect in the church is because we lack the capacity to be vulnerable about our shadow side. As vitally important as Scripture and prayer are, God brought Adam another human. We must have other image-bearers telling us the truth: friends, spouses, counselors, mentors, pastors, and children. Take the time to establish one or two relationships where you can be completely vulnerable with your thoughts and struggles.
When God uses these people to speak truth into our lives, He brings us closer to Himself and to others around us.