Loneliness and Death

How do you feel when you are alone? There are times when we all need a break from the stress of life, and sometimes that involves finding a few moments of peace to be by ourselves. For some, this means climbing into a hunting stand to spend a few hours in the woods. For others, it might mean drawing a hot bath and lighting some candles. Certainly, there are times in life when we enjoy solitude.

However, human beings are not designed to walk through life separated from others. In fact, God has said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We are designed to live in community, not in isolation. Even though there are times when we enjoy taking moments of rest apart from the commotion of the crowd, we were never designed to walk through life separated from others.

In the beginning, God brought us to life within the body of another person. We grow inside our mother’s wombs, nourished, warmed, and protected by her body. After 40 weeks of development, we leave her body, and the umbilical cord from which we received everything we needed for life is cut, causing great fear and anxiety. This is our first experience of separation, isolation, and loneliness. We scream in terror as we are confronted with the cold, harsh reality of existence as individuals who must face a new experience of life apart from the body we once knew. We feel cold, scared, and alone.

In most cases, this moment of horror is only temporary. Our bodies are quickly wrapped in heated blankets, and we are placed in the warm, soft, and loving bosom of our mothers. Before long, we learn new comforts we had never before experienced. We are fed warm milk from her breasts. We hear her voice comforting us. We see the features of her loving face. Although we had once known our mother from the inside, we begin to understand her from a new perspective. Our relationship with her has changed. Yes, we did experience a momentary separation from her, but we are soon reunited to know her in a way that we never could have imagined from within in the dark waters of the womb.

As adults who mature into independence, we no longer need the physical care that our mother provides. Eventually, we learn to feed ourselves. We clothe ourselves and find our own warm beds for rest. We protect ourselves from danger. We work independently and provide for our own needs. Gradually, we develop the illusion of independence as we complete our separation from our mothers, but in doing so, we sometimes go too far, separating ourselves from all of humanity.

The first woman is given the name Eve, which means “mother of all the living.” God designed us to experience life in the body of another person. We have a deeply seated drive to experience physical connection with others through sexual acts, and we show love to friends and family through less intimate touching, such as handshakes, hugs, or pats on the back. All of these actions are mementos of connection. They are ways that we express love to one another, saying, “I want to be connected to you.”

In a sense, our communities are the bodies in which we live after we leave the bodies of our mothers. We Christians refer to one another as “the Body of Christ.” We dwell within one another, living in the same body, nourishing and nourished by each other. We find no life apart from the body of Eve, mother of all the living, the bride of Christ, the congregation in which our spirits are fed and in which they grow.

Still, we hold the memory of our first abandonment, the separation from the physical bodies of our first mothers, deep within our unconscious minds. We remember the first separation from our mothers’ bodies at the moment of our birth. This earliest memory provides the foundation for our deepest fear as we wonder, “What will happen when my body dies?”

Just as you developed within the body of your mother, your soul is developing within your physical body. Your body is providing a safe place for your soul to grow and mature. But one day, your soul will be born from your body. This will happen when your body dies. Just as a baby is never returned to the womb after it is born, neither will your soul return to your body when the silver cord is cut. We fear this transition, and we cannot imagine what we will see when our souls are born into a new experience of life.

However, the Bible teaches that those who are inside Jesus Christ have nothing to fear in death. All those who have placed their trust in Jesus have received new life as children of God. Those who have received the seed of God are growing in the body of Christ, and one day you will be born from his body and look into his face.

God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and Jesus promised that he would be with us–always–to the very end of time. Just as our mothers never really left us on the day we were born, neither will Christ abandon us.

We are in him now, comforted, nourished, and caused to live by the power of life in his body. Like a loving mother, he will carry us to full-term, and at the right time, we will be born again, finding comfort in the sound of his voice, the joy in his face, and the loving warmth of his eternal embrace.

[If you need to talk to someone about feelings of loneliness or what will happen when you die, click here to set up an appointment with a Christian counselor].

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