“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
Genesis 2:18 (NIV)
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 (NIV)
One of the more hurtful details of being on your own through death or divorce is learning to say “I” instead of “We”. God made us to live in community. The first community in God’s world was that of man and wife. The family unit is the building block of society. While some have the gift of celibacy, the vast majority of us find profound needs met only through having someone by our side to share the joys and help bear the sorrows that come to us all in life.
In Genesis—the book of beginnings—we read God’s pronouncement that “it is not good” for an adult to be on their own. God has not wired us to live as hermits. We crave the exclusive attention of a partner in life and certainly we recognize that humanity can not exist if we do not pair off and together create the next generation.
There is never a convenient time for death to rob us of our spouse in life. The longer we live as husband and wife, the more intimate and strong the union. When death steals our loved one from us we feel suddenly alone in the most profound sense of the expression. A widow feels lonely even in a crowd. Sitting in church alone and seeing a husband put his arm around the shoulder of his wife in the pew ahead of the widow causes heartache that goes beyond description.
In Scripture we read many times about God’s heart for widows and the fatherless. In the New Testament we know the early churches had a widows’ list and the widows who did not have a family to support them were to be cared for by the entire church (1 Timothy 5:3,16).
We are to “adopt” those widows who do not have family and make them part of our own families. One way we are to define Christians is that they are those who look after the widows and orphans. James 1:27 (NIV) says
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”.
Nothing could be more clear than the teaching in the Bible that the lonely are the business of all of us. So on special days like anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas and so on—we are expected to have these people in our homes and treat them as special family members.
As we make a place in our homes for people who daily make meals for one, we are to encourage them in the knowledge that they are not only precious to us but much more to our Father in heaven. The love of other Christians is very helpful indeed but ultimately we find our most meaningful encouragement in thinking about how much we are loved by the Lord.
Here the lonely Christian finds the most comfort and the greatest help. God guards and protects these lonely ones and will never let them go. He paid the supreme price to make them His people and He will come to them, make His place of residence with them and gently lead them along the pathway to heaven.