Everyone faces trials and hardships. We all have mountaintop experiences in our lives that are sometimes followed by experiences in the valley. On April 26, 2003, 27-year-old mountain climber Aron Ralston faced the most trying time of his life after a literal mountaintop experience. What began as a one-day hike in Utah’s Blue John Canyon became a life-changing experience. As Ralston climbed in the Utah terrain, an 800-pound boulder suddenly fell against him, trapping his arm beneath the rock. Ralston only had one choice—he tied a rope around his arm and began to cut his arm off with a pocketknife. He then repelled down to the forest floor and began the hike back to his truck. Rescue workers found Ralston in the woods and flew him by helicopter to the nearest hospital.
Examining Ralston’s experience, we find a man who faced a severe situation following a mountaintop experience. Loneliness may not always be as extreme a situation as was Ralston’s, but it does cause many people to face intense pressure and isolation. Loneliness plagues our culture and its effects can be seen all around us. Whenever we face the valley of loneliness, we often falter under the pressure. In a trying time, we often collapse under the stress and feel abandoned. Instead of being strong and staying disciplined, we often are influenced by our emotions and feelings. As an emotional tide seems to flood our hearts and minds, we often forget the simple truths that can rescue us and help bring healing to our lives. Aron Ralston rose to the challenge whenever he faced the most trying situation in his life. Instead of falling prey to his emotions and thoughts, he pressed on to save his own life and overcome adversity. Yet, many people collapse under the pressure of loneliness and lose their faith and heart.
As Christians, we must examine the issue of loneliness to see if God’s Word gives us guidance. By looking into God’s Word, we can find that many leaders and well-known individuals faced the issue of loneliness. The Book of Psalms is full of prayers and heartfelt cries written by people facing extreme loneliness and pain. The psalmist David declared in Psalm 42:5-7, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” In these verses, David is clearly perplexed, and he expresses the overflow of his emotions and pain. Though we face loneliness and pain, we must remember that God is our source and our ever-present help in trouble. He is our rock whenever our world seems to be falling down around us. He is there to help us and give us peace. David provides an answer to loneliness when he declares, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” In the midst of the storm, we must learn to put our trust in God.
We must decide to put our trust in God before the storm of loneliness comes. It is hard to make a clear and sincere decision in the midst of a storm. Our emotions and feelings cause us to feel an enormous amount of pressure whenever we face loneliness. The only way to defeat loneliness is to decide to trust in God before the storm comes. Aron Ralston knew what he had to do in the event of a crisis. He made the decision to fight for survival even though he was emotionally alarmed and awestruck. As Christians, we must decide to trust in God before the storm ever comes. The midst of a storm is not the time to waver in our decision to trust God.
We can also rely on God’s love and help to get us through. David went on to write in Psalm 42:8, “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me?a prayer to the God of my life.” Even in the midst of loneliness and pain, God directs His love toward us. He gives us His peace and presence in the midst of turmoil and confusion. When our tears fall, and we have questions that don’t have answers, we can cling to Jesus who is faithful and true. He is the healer and song of our hearts in the midst of a time of loneliness.