The Strength in Aloneness


“A servant of God must stand so much alone that he never knows he is alone.”  –Oswald Chambers

“Everyone deserted me…. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me.” –Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 4:16b-17a HCSB

We need people. I’ll get that declaration out of the way at the beginning! God never meant for us to live in isolation. I highly value the network of trustworthy people God has given me to connect with on various levels, and encourage others to find and embrace their own network.

But having a connection to people is secondary, not primary.

If you’re scratching your head at this point, I understand. Most of the messages we get from society and even from church indicate that a meaningful life comes from being connected to other people, especially a spouse and family. The truth in that assumption is that living for something or someone other than ourselves gives us meaning in life. The lie in that assumption is that being attached to another person or persons gives us value.

True Value and Meaning

The full truth is we have value because God created us and loves us, and we find meaning in life when we live out our God-given purpose. People can come and go in our lives, and circumstances can change, but the truth of what gives us value and meaning in life remains constant and can never be taken from us. This is the secret of learning to stand so much alone that we never realize we are alone, as Oswald Chambers said in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.[1]  When God is our sole Source for joy, meaning, and purpose, the coming and going of people in our lives, as well as any change in circumstances, does not affect our joy, meaning, and purpose.

A great example of this was Paul and Barnabas after it became apparent they had differing opinions about including John Mark on their missionary trip. While they both felt so strongly that they parted ways, each continued to pursue the calling God had given them personally. If either had believed they needed the other to accomplish their individual callings, the disagreement would have been disastrous. Instead, it freed them both to live their own God-given life purpose: Paul to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, and Barnabas to encourage Christians young in the faith.

The person who has served as the greatest example of this in my own life is my father. He first heard and accepted God’s calling to serve Him when he was in his early 20s – first as a single man in Germany and Nepal, and then as a married man in Belize and numerous locations in the States. After 50 years of marriage to my mother who was his ideal partner and companion in life, he is now single again. But while it is evident he misses my mother tremendously, her death hasn’t affected his joy, meaning, and purpose in life. His God-given purpose to live for Jesus and encourage others to live for Him is as primary in his life now as it was while his wife was living, and as it was before he married her.

The strength of learning to stand so much alone that we never realize we are alone, is that we are freed to live God’s purpose no matter who or what comes and goes in our lives.

The Benefits of Learning Aloneness in God

Aloneness with God is not just for singles. As I pointed out in my father’s life, knowing his purpose aside from his marital status has given him a meaningful and joyful life – before marriage, during marriage, and after marriage. There are significant benefits for everyone in learning aloneness with God:

  • We live joyfully and purposefully no matter what happens, because we know our God-given purpose is not dependent on circumstances or people
  • We become strong and confident – not because of self-reliance or self-sufficiency, but because we rely fully on God alone
  • We live in freedom from fear and anxiety because we know that no matter what, God is with us
  • We have a strong connection with our Heavenly Father because we realize while everything and everyone else may come and go, He alone remains constant

Advantages for Singles

As Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 7, singles have more freedom to have an undivided focus in living for the Lord and in learning this aloneness with God:

  • Freedom to follow God’s calling without needing to make it fit in with a spouse’s purpose and calling
  • Freedom to choose if and when to be with others according to God’s purpose for us, rather than to fill a marital obligation
  • Freedom of more time alone with God to strengthen our relationship with Him
  • Freedom to rely on God alone as our Provider, rather than being tempted to rely on a spouse to fill that role

Of course, those who have a life partner in marriage have their own set of advantages, and often the life purposes of a married couple fit hand in glove, adding strength to both.

The bottom line is, no matter our circumstances, learning to stand so much alone with God that we never feel alone is a blessing and gift for every Christian, and one I urge you to grasp firmly and value deeply!

[1] Chambers, Oswald (1927). My Utmost for His Highest, Classic Edition (April 22; Kindle Locations 1848-1849). Discovery House. Kindle Edition.

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  1. Marilyn Breedlove says:

    This just reminds me of my favorite verse-Psalm 73:23-25. :”You are always with me. You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel and afterward, you will take me into glory. Who have I in heaven beside you and earth has nothing I desire but you.” It is difficult sometimes to be alone but I remind myself that I am not really alone. I was married for 20 years and sometimes felt more alone during that time than I do now. Thank you for your articles. They are very encouraging to me and my daughter, who is 28 but disabled and never been able to date.

  2. Otho Horst says:

    Very good, Fern

    Pro_3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. These verses and others have meant alot to me through the years. I continue to choose joy because I know the Lord Jesus is always with me. Therefore I am never alone.

  3. Another great post. They just seem to get better and better. I agree totally with everything that was said. Even though I was married for 32 years, I realized that the marriage did not complete me or make me feel any less lonely, as I often was. The truth is, another person cannot complete you, no matter how much marriage is touted as being capable of doing this. Our main purpose in life is to become more conformed to the image of Christ, and a spouse may or may not be instrumental in facilitating this. Though I came a long way by having the husband that I had, there was obviously more work that needed to be done and could not have been done with me still being married. It was time for me to discover the person God wanted me to be without my husband. I am happier, stronger and more complete now than I have ever been in my entire life.

  4. Fern Calhoun says:

    Thank you Fern. This came today when I really needed it. I have been crying today and feel an overwhelm loneliness even though I am walking with God and know my purpose is to be a Prayer Warrior and encourage. I felt this longing for a male companion. I have printed out your article. I liked what your Dad said, he lived his purpose married and single. I know others have told me that I am a blessing to them. Yet today, I am crying as I wonder am I at 80 years old to be alone for the rest of my life? Thanks again, Fern Calhoun

  5. Having been single for the last 24 years after nearly 19 years of marriage, I can tell you that the freedom of your time with God is priceless. I would have preferred a marriage in which we both walked closely with the Lord and coveted time alone with Him. I will say that I don’t believe God will bring you someone who has a ‘different’ call that conflicts with yours as we are to be equally yoked (although what WE choose outside His will may be an entirely different story). Of course it gets lonely sometimes and no amount of prayer and communion with God can make the need for human contact on an intimate level go away. It is why God created Eve. But no amount of human contact and intimacy can take the place of knowing the Father, relationship with Jesus and intimacy with the Holy Spirit. Wouldn’t trade that for anything.

    1. Thank you I agree, it nice when someone said gods enough or people who have been married are lonely to. But they forget human need physical contact hug be nice , or having someone that can go out to dinner someone to talk to an talks back or go on trips an share memories with