And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:16-17, ESV
Recently I received an email highlight from the Barna Research group with a dismal—but not surprising—finding on the loneliness epidemic in America. Although loneliness is not new, the explosion of social media and the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust it into the spotlight. People of all ages and life stages desire community, companionship, and presence. I believe that the gift of God’s presence through the Holy Spirit is one of the most underused answers to loneliness available to the believer.
I lived in Bad Kissingen, Germany, for three and a half years during my twenties. My husband served in the military, and I gave birth to our son in Germany. Unprepared for the cultural shock of living in a foreign country, being newly married, and entering motherhood away from family, I experienced an extreme sense of loneliness and isolation. There was no internet, cell phones, or social media. Calling long-distance was costly.
During this time, I cried out to God and began to experience His presence when I embraced how much God loved me. Then, I started reflecting on what Paul meant in Ephesians 2:8 when he said that salvation was a gift from God that I received through my faith in Jesus Christ. With this gift came the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in me. Because of the fulfilled promise Jesus made to his disciples in John 14:16-17, the Spirit was always with me, and I realized that I was never alone.
How can His presence help us when we are alone or feeling lonely? The more we pray and read the Bible, the closer we feel to God. When we shift our focus from our circumstances to God, we allow His presence through the Holy Spirit to guide us. The Spirit fills the void in our life that only He can fill.
I started praying and reading my Bible. Although I did not understand much of what I was reading, slowly my outlook changed. I asked God to send me friends and help me be more open to friendships. In another country, even something as seemingly simple as friendships was foreign. Our first apartment was not on the military base. We had German landlords, so I had to learn enough German to communicate. They introduced me to a family who lived in the downstairs apartment. Although German, this family spoke fluent English and became my friends and translator.
From the very beginning, God created humans to be in a relationship with Him and each other. Our interdependence on each other helps fulfill needs that may be physical, emotional, or spiritual. God never intended for our interdependence on each other to replace our dependence on Him. In 2022, when you are alone or feeling lonely, remember the gift of God’s presence through the Holy Spirit.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13, ESV
Talulah Ruger, RN, MSN (MACE, 2006) serves on the leadership team for the DTS-Houston Alumni Association. A retired oncology nurse, she is a Bible teacher, motivational speaker, and writer. Talulah is the CEO and founder of Talulah Ruger Ministries, a teaching ministry to inspire and motivate people 50 and older to use their faith experience and life stories to positively influence the now generation and the next through intergenerational mentoring. She is also an instructor for the Opened Bible Academy.