The Problem of Loneliness — Part 1
(2 Timothy 4:9-22)
By: Mike Stokes
In our busy world of; high pressure, hard driving, high achievers, it’s strange to think loneliness would be a problem for anyone. The fact is being busy and around people does not immunize us from this paralyzing malady. Loneliness has been called the most desolate word in the world. Some of the things that can cause loneliness are; disappointment, sickness, boredom, divorce, retirement, and death.
At the close of his life, Paul had to deal with loneliness, maybe if we crawled down beside him we can learn how to deal with it. I don’t have a formula of how to overcome it, but I can make suggestions on how to cope with it. In his most autobiographical statement of his experience (2Corinthians 11: 24-28), a passage that pulsates with loneliness between-the-lines. However, his most eloquent writing on the subject is (2 Timothy 4: 9-22), which is his last printed communications:
Why was Paul lonely?
(1) He was confined.
His thoughts were not from a pastors study or retreat, but a cell in the famous Mamertine prison in Rome; a dungeon below ground, prisoners were lowered into it.
(2) He was virtually alone. (2 Timothy 4: 9-12, 20)
Here he reefers to a number of close friends who for various reasons were not with him, he depended on them, now they are gone, except for Luke, who was a physician. He was accustom to many people around him; he needed friends.
(3) The time of year. (v20)
The days just before winter, the dampness of the cold cell was hard on his weakened body.
(4) His future. (v6)
He was a seasoned warrior of the cross, and he saw the end of his life approaching. He was not afraid of death, he had brushed his shoulder up against it many times.
(5) His thoughts. (v14-17)
His mind was full of nostalgic memories; he is looking back at the bittersweet circumstances of the past. He had been in the mainstream, on the front lines of ministry. So it was logical for him to become emotional, his memory affected his feelings.
Next time we will consider some tools for dealing with loneliness. In this passage Paul ask for certain things to be brought to him, these are the things with the key for dealing with–The Problem of Loneliness.