And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
When I used to go to the nursing home to visit my dad in New Jersey, I was always saddened by the way so many of the residents were neglected. On one particular occasion, my wife and I noticed an elderly woman who tried as hard as she could to feed herself but couldn’t because she could not lift her arm. No employee in that facility took the time to feed her because they were so busy with other tasks. After watching her struggle for several minutes, my wife went to her table and started to feed her. She ate as much as possible; and though she could not speak, I know she was grateful that someone took the time to help her.
Unfortunately, many people like her are suffering alone with no one to help them. Covid has only increased the loneliness that so many are struggling with. Many people are in the hospital with no one to visit them because of Covid protocol. Others are suffering at home because they have no one to talk to. It is, therefore, not surprising that depression and suicide have increased dramatically in the past two years.
Human beings were not made to be alone. We were created to be in a community. Loneliness brings out the worst of us. It is in loneliness that our spiritual enemy intensifies his attacks against us. In loneliness, we become more vulnerable to sinful thinking, more anxious and frustrated with our circumstances. Such frustration can lead to actions or decisions that could be detrimental to our relationship with God.
Because everyone needs a community, each of us has the responsibility to reach out and connect with those who are disconnected. Even during this Covid era, there are many ways we can help those who are suffering alone in silence. First, we can pray for them. Prayer is always the key in every situation. Second, if you know of someone who is living alone whether in a nursing facility or their own home, call them, and if possible, take the time to visit at least once. Third, send a card or a handwritten letter to let that person know you are concerned about them and pray for them. Fourth, attend corporate worship as often as you can.
One of the many benefits and purposes of corporate worship is to keep believers connected. In some cases, corporate worship is the only time some people get to fellowship with other people. Some people spend the entire week without seeing or talking to anyone. Thus, the Sunday gathering is not just a spiritual necessity, it is also a social gathering, a fellowship hour, and the strengthening of a much-needed community that gives hope and encouragement to many. Therefore, we should have a happy disposition when we go to corporate worship. We should not be unpleasant and unkind to our brothers and sisters. During and after corporate worship, our words should be filled with grace and our attitude should be edifying.
In Isaiah 41:10, God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” That promise can only be fulfilled through our service to God’s kingdom. When you and I take the time to visit the sick and shut-ins, we are affirming God’s commitment to be a very present help to those who are lonely and suffering in silence.
Therefore, if you have an elderly member of your family, visit that person. If you know of a person who lives alone, sick or shut-in, call them and let them know you care. Serve as a greeter at your local church so you can welcome everyone who attends with a Jesus smile that can make them feel appreciated.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What can you do to help someone who is suffering in silence alone?
How can you help your local church to be a community where people feel connected?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I am praying for those who are struggling with loneliness. In particular, I’m praying for the elderly, the sick, and shut-ins with no one to visit them or care about them. Stir up my heart and the heart of other believers so we can be concerned about our brothers and sisters who are suffering alone in silence. May I become a bridge that helps people to cross over from the valley of loneliness into the oasis of a loving community where they can feel affirmed and valued!