God is the Answer because without Him there is no Hope
By Larry Peterson
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta
This will be the third Thanksgiving since my wife passed away, and when you become widowed, there is an inescapable loneliness factor that enters your life. But I have learned that loneliness has no boundaries. It reaches out for everyone and captures many of the unsuspecting, including those who are seemingly happy, contented, and successful, dragging them into a world of hidden misery and often depression.
However, many who have experienced loss manage to bounce back and find contentment, peace, and even love again. Others cannot—why is that? The common denominator seems to be that those people who have God in their lives were never alone at all. Those who do not—remain alone. The first consequence of rejecting God is the loss of Hope. They have allowed Hope to be erased from their spirit.
The results of losing Hope are devastating. In fact, the loneliness factor in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. Here are a few statistics that show how losing Hope has affected our nation. Loss of Hope leads to despair, and the ones affected most by this loss are the Generation Z people, those who are in the 18 to 22-year-old range. I have grandchildren older than that. The entire concept of these young people, fresh out from adolescence and beginning adulthood, having lost Hope is so sad. How can this be?
Cigna referenced a “Loneliness Index,” and it shows that loneliness has become rampant in the United States. This worldwide health service company used the UCLA Loneliness Scale (yes, they have a loneliness scale), which is a 20 item questionnaire that was designed to determine a person’s social isolation and their subjective feelings. This evaluator is used frequently to track and measure loneliness. Some of the results were astonishing. This is from their report of May 1, 2018:
- 47 percent of Americans sometimes or always feel alone
- 27 percent of Americans feel no one understands them
- 40 percent feel that their relationships have no meaning and feel isolated
- 20 percent feel they feel close to no one and have no one to talk to
- AMAZINGLY—the Generation Z people (18 to 22) are the loneliest generation. How heartbreaking is that?
- Social Media users have a 43.5 percent loneliness factor, which was comparable to the 41.7 percent for those who do not use social media.
Isn’t it interesting that nowhere is the name of God mentioned in these findings? And nowhere is the importance of the traditional family considered. The numbers are mind-boggling. We are a nation of almost 330 million people. If 47% say they feel “alone” that is nearly half the country. We only have to go back 25 years to the early “90s to see the rapid decline in the absence of Hope.
Since then, there has been a 58% decline in club meetings, a 43% drop in family dinners, and children have their playtime regulated, depriving them of natural social development. People use their phones to message each other, apply for jobs, get interviewed, quit jobs, break up with their boyfriends or girlfriends, file divorce papers, and do all sorts of interactions without having to go face to face with a person, never saying one word.
Getting back to God and family would be akin to putting the lynchpin back into the hub of life. Then, people, kids included, might be taught that they can turn to Jesus and never be alone. They might be taught to think of His words from Matthew 28:20 And behold, I am with you always, until the end of this age.
We must count our blessings on Thanksgiving, especially knowing that more than half of all Americans still believe in and honor God in their lives and that we have the freedom to do it. This Thanksgiving, millions upon millions of us will pray together thanking God for all we have. We should also pray for all those who do not have Hope in their lives. We know it can always be reignited and prayer can be the kindling used to fire up the Hope lying dormant in so many. God is just waiting to be asked to light the match.