by Charity Purdy
I can still see my sixteen-year-old self, surrounded by people my age, and yet feeling completely alone. I timidly tried to befriend one girl. Although she was very kind, I could tell I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was friendless in a room full of friends.
I decided to pray about it. A friend wasn’t too much to ask for, was it? It wasn’t a bad request. Days went by, then weeks. Then months. No friend. My prayers became more demanding. Why wasn’t God filling the need He Himself gave me?
Have you ever felt that way? I remember one young lady who looked like the perfect picture of happiness, with a friend constantly nearby and good times following her wherever she went. But in her heart, the picture was very different. “I laugh,” she said, “because it hurts too much to cry.”
Regardless of whether you are shy like me or you easily connect with others, I’m sure you can relate to that feeling. The feeling of being friendless in a room full of friends. Let's look at what we can do, if we are in that situation:
Tell God About It
Jesus Himself was lonely. In John we read of Jesus teaching some things that even His closest friends struggled to understand. After hearing what He had to say, some of His followers stopped following Him. As Jesus watched His friends leave, He turned to the twelve and asked them, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67)
I won’t even get into all the rejection Jesus felt at the time of His death, but we can be sure that He felt friendless and even betrayed! When you tell God about your loneliness, He hears, and He understands. Pour your heart out to Him. (Psalm 62:8)
Give It to God
Telling God about your longing isn't the same as giving it to Him. I couldn't understand why God wouldn't give me a friend, but I was actually demanding it. When I finally came to the place where I gave my desire over to Him, He told me that He, God Himself, could be my friend. When I accepted His will over my own desires, He returned the peace and joy that I had lost when pushing for what I felt I deserved.
In 1 Peter 5:5, the author gives some advice for “younger” people. He talks of submitting to elders, being humble before God, then in verse 7 he tells us to cast all our cares on God. The word “casting” give the idea of willingly, almost carelessly, throwing something away. When we fully give our desires to God, He gives us peace.
Allow God to Be Your Friend
Have you ever looked in the back of a hymnal where the songs are indexed by topic? As a teenager, I didn't either, but I’d like you to look at how many hymns are listed under friendship. I found a LOT of songs about Jesus being our friend. That tells me two things: 1) that many other people were looking for friendship, and 2) that they found a joy in fellowship with Jesus that made them want to sing and write beautifully about it!
Here’s an even better thing to try: the next time you are feeling lonely, Google verses about Jesus and friendship and read them in your Bible. You’ll soon see that Jesus wants to be your friend! The verses in John 15:9-17 are a beautiful picture of Jesus calling anyone, who follows his commands, his friend. When you take the time to soak in the fact that GOD calls you His friend, the loneliness begins to fade.
Sometimes, after you have talked to God about your desire, given it to Him, and sought Him as a friend, He chooses to give it back to you. I was a missionary kid, and shortly after I gave my desire for a friend over to God, we learned that a young lady wanted to spend the summer helping us in our ministry. My parents decided that this young lady and I would share a vacant missionary home only a mile away. They wanted to see how I would do without them. We had to buy groceries, clean house, do laundry, and help with the children’s ministry. It was great because we also got to stay up into the night talking about whether there was only one “right one” to marry, about past hurts and failures, and about what God might have for the future.
When she came to visit, my friend fully planned to be a missionary, but she soon realized God had a different idea. I will never forget one evening when we were talking about all the usual things. As our conversation ended and we headed to our separate rooms, she said, “Charity, I really believe God wanted me to come here this summer just to be your friend.”
I went to bed crying that night, overwhelmed at a loving Friend of all Friends, who remembered the prayers I prayed and chose to send someone thousands of miles just to be my friend! As you sit, friendless in a room full of friends, remember: When you have given your life to God, you have the best Friend you could ever have!
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Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
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