Is loneliness a universal problem or one closer to home? How big a part does “fear” play in our feelings of loneliness? Is “shame” the primary driving force behind our loneliness or is it self-absorption or one of the many other self hyphenated words? How much of our loneliness is caused by our own laziness, self-induced?
All these causes can be traced back to the Garden of Eden and our first parents. When Adam and Eve sinned and took their respective bites of the apple they immediately noted their now alarming nakedness and set out trying to cover it by making coverings out of fig leaves (what a chafing experience). The “shame” associated with their nudity mirrored the “shame” they felt for disappointing and betraying God by sinning and having their inner thoughts and wishes exposed. Shame has been mankind’s problem ever since and one of the primary drivers in our need for recognition and importance and drives many to abuse drugs, power, food, sex, etc. in an effort to anesthetize the pain resulting from it.
Next, they tried to hide from God, something many of us continue to do because now all of a sudden they were afraid (“fear”) of God. So in a moment in time they go from walking with God to fearing and hiding from Him and, ironies of ironies, all because they wanted to be like Him. Wanting to be the god of our own lives continues to be one of Man’s greatest problem!
And, when confronted by God about their sin, they immediately tried to “blame” someone other than themselves for it and Adam was even so bold as to blame God himself saying in effect the woman “You” gave me made me take the bite.
The serpent was partially correct when he stated that Adam and Eve would be like God knowing good and evil but once they bit the apple they were all alone, outside the will of God, and looking for someone other than themselves to blame for their sin. The blame game and battle of the sexes started that day along with man’s propensity for choosing women over God.
Just about all of our relationship problems have their start with Adam and Eve’s sin. And Adam and Eve’s problems have been passed on to generation after generation of us humans and their sin got almost immediately, exponentially worse with Cain killing his brother Abel only a short time later. Eventually God sent the flood because sin had gotten so far out of hand.
But it’s important to note that it was God who went looking for Adam and Eve and not the other way around much like the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son went out to talk with His 2 boys. God has been pursuing us ever since the Garden and it’s to love ❤️ us and not hammer 🔨 us like so many of us unconsciously believe.
But God’s mercy and grace are evident even when God locked Adam and Eve out of the garden since God did not want them to have access to the tree of life while carrying the guilt, shame and remorse of their sin and knowing they would not be mentally, psychologically, relationally, or spiritually able to live forever with that level of pain. In addition, God provided them with much more suitable and comfortable clothing.
Adam and Eve go from walking with God to being separated from Him. Imagine the overwhelming sense of grief, loneliness, self-hatred and anger they must have experienced. The feelings experienced by those in hell as described by Jonathan Edwards in his sermon “Sinners In The Hands of An Angry God” * would have no doubt been felt and experienced by Adam and Eve as well.
Being “alone” is innately one of our biggest fears and Satan’s good at using our own self-imposed aloneness against us. If you watch a lion or tiger hunt on Animal Kingdom you will note how they separate the weakest or most vulnerable animal from the herd/pack and then attack and destroy it. That’s exactly how Satan hunts us. He separates us from the pack often by using our own pity parties, low self-esteem, pride, anger, etc. and, once separated, he devours us. We’re kind of like the moth and the flame and seem almost irresistibly attracted to Satan’s flame. Satan dangles our shame in front of us since he is the “accuser of the brethren” and uses our own fears to separate us from the very people who could help, protect, and relate to us.
But we are not without hope. None of this took God by surprise. Just as Adam and Eve were on top of the world when they were walking with God so can we by walking with God also. James 4:8 says “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. Great advice and the secret to defeating fear, shame, blame, loneliness, and all the self hypenated words that Satan tries to use against us. Drawing near to God is as simple as admitting you are broken and knowing only God can fix you. Just as a doctor can’t help you until you go to his/her office for treatment, so God can’t help you until you admit you are sick and broken. The only difference, God still makes house calls.
*”4. Tis everlasting Wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this Fierceness and Wrath of Almighty God one Moment; but you must suffer it to all Eternity: there will be no End to this exquisite horrible Misery: When you look forward, you shall see a long Forever, a boundless Duration before you, which will swallow up your Thoughts, and amaze your Soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any Deliverance, any End, any Mitigation, any Rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long Ages, Millions of Millions of Ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless Vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many Ages have actually been spent by you in this Manner, you will know that all is but a Point to what remains. So that our Punishment will indeed be in nite. Oh who can express what the State of a Soul in such Circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble faint Representation of it; ’tis inexpressible and inconceivable: for who knows the Power of God’s Anger?”