Today I want to finish our exploration of loneliness and how David overcame it in Psalm 25.
Let’s start with verse 21: “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.” This integrity and uprightness can refer either to the character of God or to the things that God has built into David’s life.
Either would be right. There’s no question about it – we can rely on the utter integrity and uprightness of our God. He will never do that which is wrong. We can be absolutely confident that he will always treat us in utter righteousness. Therein lies our protection. As God instills a sense of integrity and righteousness in our hearts, they become the greatest possible defense for us in our times of extremity. So David has great hope.
The basis of David’s hope and of ours is this: The cure for loneliness and inner turmoil is to look to the Lord, reaffirm our trust and confidence in Him, and begin to live in obedience.
And as we live in obedience, it is inevitable that we begin having a heart for people outside ourselves.
Everybody knows that sooner or later the cure for loneliness is people!
And the cure for the inner turmoil of the heart is to become less absorbed with our problems and more concerned with those of others.
An old Chinese proverb says, “I grumbled when I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.” I think somebody who doesn’t have shoes has cause to grumble. But I think the person who sees the man with no feet will stop grumbling and begin to recognize how fortunate he is to have feet.
Do you find yourself lonely? Do you have a troubled heart?
Do you know where to turn? Do you know the Lord? Are you convinced that He is trustworthy? Do you believe that He’ll deal with you in mercy? Are you absolutely rock-bottom certain that He knows what is best for you? Do you take the time to reflect on Him and what it means humbly to come before Him, discover His righteousness, trust Him, and obey Him? And even in the midst of the maelstrom of your feelings, is there that UNDERGIRDING sense that God is bedrock there, and that one of these days the feelings will be better but the thing that won’t change is who God is?
When you can answer those queries positively you’ll discover that He is helping you to look out to other people.
You’ll be on the same tentative note of triumph and of concern as David: “O Lord, do something about the people around me as well. Don’t let me become totally absorbed with me.”
The point to ponder is very simple: When I experience a troubled heart, to whom do I turn first? Notice the word first? I phrased it that way for one very simple reason. A lot of people turn to the Lord last with their troubled heart. What’s the difference? The nature of our relationship with God!
When something is really bothering you who do you call first: an expert on whatever is bothering you or a friend? Get the point? Is God someone with whom you are intimate and therefore someone you let inside your pain or is God that impersonal expert that you go to when you’ve exhausted all other options? He won’t turn you down when you go to him last, but how sad and how unnecessary that we stay alone in our pain so long.
With David and all the saints since let us affirm today: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.
In that affirmation is found the answer to overcoming loneliness: knowing that the Father is always with us, always loves us, always desires us, and is always ready to embrace us when we run to him!