Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

Loneliness is one of the hardest things to endure. God made us to be social creatures. Not only were we designed to have a relationship with Him, but with others as well. When we are lacking those relationships, we feel the loss deeply. Yet most of us, if not all of us, have gone through periods of loneliness in our lives.

One of the times of greatest loneliness in my life was when I moved from my hometown. I left my job to make a career change and went back to college for another degree. I had no car, so I took the bus to school, went to class, and came home to study. I felt so lonely. I remember it as one of the dark days of my life. Yet I also remember it as one of the times of greatest spiritual growth. I was forced to rely on God. I learned about Him and myself and our relationship. I learned about my gifts. I learned to trust Him with my future, something I hadn’t really done before, even though I had been a Christian since I was a young child.

The Bible says we will have trials in our life (1 Peter 1:6-7). Perhaps loneliness is yours right now. When we go through tough times, God wants us to use them as opportunities to develop our faith in Him. Consider your time of loneliness as a time to refine yourself. Develop spiritual disciplines like spending time in the Word, memorizing Scripture, or deepening your prayer life.

Additionally, you can use this time to develop your God-given gifts. Volunteer for a ministry. Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you will help others. Seeing others’ needs often puts our own in perspective.

Finally, the hardest part is to learn to be content with where God has you now. Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” He knew this contentment didn’t come of his own abilities. He says later in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” We can do whatever God calls us to do because He will give us the strength.

Make a plan to deal with your loneliness. Study an area of Scripture you’ve always been curious about. Spend more time in prayer. God has something He wants you to learn during this time. Don’t miss out. He is trustworthy and He will never leave you.