Some years ago I was shopping with my mom and I came across a birthday card with a sequence of three pictures of a giraffe on it. In the top picture, the giraffe had just arrived at a party and had eagerly knocked on the door, holding a present and card. In the second picture, the birthday boy (who happened to be a lion) had squeezed all the other animals behind the door and opened it to tell the giraffe that there was, in fact, no party. And in the last picture, the lion had shut the door and the party had resumed, and the giraffe was walking sadly away from the door. As humorous as this card was probably intended to be, it nearly reduced eleven year old me to tears- I hated the idea of that poor giraffe being turned away because no one liked him enough to invite him to the party.
I still hate the loneliness that the giraffe on the card felt, but what I hate even more is that I’m surrounded by girls- real girls, not cartoon giraffes- to whom loneliness is so real and so painful.
So here it is: this one is for the girl who feels alone.
Feeling alone hurts.
It hurts when you sit alone at lunch for the fifth time that week. It hurts when you know you’re the only one without plans for the weekend. It hurts when your ‘friends’ stand you up… or when they don’t even text back. It hurts when you’re not invited. It hurts when no one checks in when you miss school… when no one sends the work. It hurts when they whisper, when they move away as you walk past, when they call you names, not even bothering to do it behind your back. It hurts when you feel alone… even when you’re surrounded by people. It hurts so, SO bad to feel lonely.
Loneliness makes us believe lies about ourselves, too. Lies like I’m not good enough for them. Not pretty enough. Not popular enough. These lies… the enemy’s lies… they get to us and they make us hurt even more.
It really, really hurts to feel lonely.
Friend, I’ve felt lonely before. I’ve been there. I’ve hurt. But I don’t know the loneliness and the pain you’ve felt. I don’t know how you’ve been hurt or who by. I don’t know what your friendships are like. But I do know someone who does. Someone who will never leave you. Someone who will be with you through the highs and the lows. Someone you have a true friend in… Jesus.
It’s true! You have a friend in Jesus! A friend you can turn to when all your earthly friends turn away. Jesus doesn’t just see your pain either, he knows your pain. When Jesus was on earth, He was let down time and time again by His earthly friends. He was let down when Peter, John and James fell asleep after He’d asked them to keep watch whilst He prayed. He was let down when Judas betrayed Him. He was let down when Peter denied Him. Jesus knows what it feels like to be let down by one’s closest friends. Jesus had a relationship with His Heavenly Father, but He knows of the pain of earthly loneliness too.
So friend, when you feel burdened down by the weight of loneliness, know that you have a friend in Jesus. He wants to draw near to you and to comfort you. He offers you his hand and wants you to cling onto it, like how a baby squeezes onto the finger of her father. He wants you to cling on to Him and know that He will never let you go.
Jesus loves you like a child, but he likes you like a friend too. He’s there in the darkest night when it feels like no one else is. He’s beside you when they laugh and call you names. He surrounds you as the tears stream down your face because you’ve been stood up by your ‘friends’ yet again. He’s with you when you sit alone at lunch wondering why no one has joined you. Your earthly friends may shy away from the bad parts and the ugly days and the tough situations but Jesus sees it all and He is with you through it all.
So sweet, sweet girl, remember this: you may feel lonely but you are never really alone because you have a friend in Jesus. And oh, what a friend He is!