Finish Strong With Fearless Faith

God Are You There? I'm Lonely #30 REAIR

May 23, 2022 Fearless Faith
Finish Strong With Fearless Faith
God Are You There? I'm Lonely #30 REAIR
Show Notes Transcript

There seems to be an "epidemic of loneliness" in our society.  This is especially true as people age and have less contact with friends and family.  Widows and widowers miss their spouses who have passed into heaven.  The elderly often have no friends left and they are unable to get out anymore to visit the ones who are still alive.  The coronavirus pandemic served to compound the problem and caused people to feel more isolated and lonely than ever before.

Loneliness can be overwhelming and debilitating but we serve a God who promises to never leave us or forsake us.  In this episode Brian, Terry and Dan serve up Biblical advice on handling loneliness.  They will help you live your life with purpose, change someone’s life for the better and leave a lasting impact on those around you. Everyone starts the race... but only the Fearless Finish Strong!
 
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Dan Wheeler:

We realized we were alone. And we didn't have any dates, thinking the tights and tutus might had something to do with it.

Terry Steen:

There's there's a good chance because I had just started dating this girl, I only had a few dates. Your name was Karen. And busy that week, getting ready for this thing I didn't think about trying to get a date. And you know, for me, as you know, I had to plan three to four months ahead to get someone to go out with me.

Dan Wheeler:

Exactly. And a lot of payments involve a lot of money and a lot of cash.

Brian Roland:

You stood in front of the mirror and reversed a lot too.

Terry Steen:

Oh, yeah, remember that. So this really happens, I go up to her, I go up to Karen after it's over. I'm leaving you in the dust Dan, if I can. And she's up and wants to do something. She's got a day Don't

John Matarazzo:

live your life with purpose, change someone's life for the better, and leave a lasting impact on those around you. Welcome to finish strong, the podcast designed to help you discover your unique purpose and develop a plan to leave a powerful legacy. Now, here's Dan. So let's get started.

Dan Wheeler:

I read an article the other day, that said more than three in five Americans are lonely. And more and more are feeling left out poorly understood. And lacking companionship. That same survey was conducted back in 2018. And since then, there's been even a 13% rise in loneliness. And not just loneliness, people are describing it as pervasive loneliness, which is leading to anxiety and depression. But there's hope. And we're here to talk to you about that, in this edition of finish strong because sometimes you you just say God, are you there? I'm lonely. And he's always there. I'm Dan Wheeler, and I'm joined by Brian Rowland and Terry Steen to discuss this topic. And guys, you know, I think that the feeling of loneliness has gotten even worse since the pandemic, because people just aren't having that contact with other people.

Terry Steen:

Yeah, man, I agree. And it's, it's almost crazy. I was hearing either. Some additional statistics to that. And the loneliness is even higher under younger people. And what we're finding is it's gotten to the extent of suicide, suicide has increased over 30% Since the pandemic began, and last year was up to like, I don't know the exact number, but like 93,000 people in our country committed suicide. So loneliness is real. That is true.

Dan Wheeler:

We've had quite a few incidences of suicide in our local high schools here where I live, and a friend of my son in laws two weeks ago, 35 years old, people thought he was happy, jovial guy, but he had mentioned to a friend of his that he just was feeling off and was feeling kind of lonely and depressed. And then two weeks ago as father found them, so it's really a problem, Brian, and not just like, we think of young people just doing it, because it's a thing or it's cool to go down and you know, people's memories, but even people that are, you know, early to mid life, having problems with life, there definitely

Brian Roland:

are and it's happening. I like I said, with the pandemic, people have locked themselves in, and they've gotten in this cocoon, and then they start getting paranoid, they don't want to go out. And now that they were able to get out, suddenly you have another variant and they're all locking down again, and I have a friend that doesn't want to leave. I mean, we try to get him to come down and he doesn't want to leave. It's scary. It's scary when you think of that, that you because we are built to be around people we're made to interact and be with people. And when you can't do that, and especially if you're by yourself, boy more than ever you need and you need something in your life that's gonna get you through it. And we of course, we have the answer, but it's a lot of people don't,

Dan Wheeler:

Brian, let's discuss some of the causes for loneliness. What do you what do you think they are? Well,

Brian Roland:

one definitely is we live in a mobile society. And we're always on the move. So it's hard to make new friends in that right now too. And when you do, it's pretty quick because a lot of people are moving. I just leave just a little bit ago, I thought I'm gonna go through and see how many places I lived. Since I got out of school. 48 years ago out of college. I've lived in 14 Different states, or different times in states. I've lived in four different countries, and I've actually made 30 moves through that time. And that's just me. Yeah. So you get mobile like that and people do do that because you're moving for jobs and and not people. It's nice that they can work from home because used to be that you're going to pick up in go wherever the best job was at, especially in the broadcasting business, as you know, then we had to just go with a bigger market was every time we wanted to keep moving up. And so that's one of the ways and then of course you got family members that move out. Again when I was a kid we Thanksgiving was at manliness Christmas Eve was at our house. We had tons of cousins over their house was packed. And as the years went by, everybody started leaving and not coming back. And so it got to the point, it was just me and my cousin

Terry Steen:

Marlene, Terry and

Dan Wheeler:

I are gone through that, you know, Terry, I know your kids, your daughter and her family's out on the West Coast. You're on the East Coast, and my daughter, and her family with my grandkids just moved to South Dakota. And man, it's it's hard. I mean, I, I, I look back at the swimming pool. And I it just feels lonely, but they were here this past week. So it was it was great again, but I don't know, that's another thing we deal with. Right, Terry is, you know, those we missing our family,

Terry Steen:

for sure. And I think that's part of why God made the family structure the way he did. Because like Brian said earlier, we're supposed to be among other people. And there's, there's nobody that we should be closer to than our family. So, you know, at least Karen and I still were married and together. So there's there's times of loneliness by not having our daughter and her family around. But death. Dan, you, you know better than anybody how that can impact loneliness. Yeah.

Dan Wheeler:

You know, losing Beth was a very lonely time. And I'll talk a little bit about that later. But since she's been gone, it's been, I can't believe it'll be six years this coming October. Amazing. Isn't that Brian? Six years ago, and I mean, you know, miss her so much. And it's just such a chunk taken out of your life. So there's so many reasons. And Brian, you know, Terry mentioned that he has Karen but divorce is another big problem Wars is

Brian Roland:

very big. And that's, I think that'll affect somebody faster than than anything, even a death in the family. I know that that. What happens when everybody leaves, but when divorce happens, and all of a sudden you you're sitting there going, Wait a minute, what happened? You're trying to figure all this out, because it's, it's sometimes it happens fast. Sometimes it's slow. But I know that I am. I'm had. I was divorced. I was married once before. But I know that I'm going to be the little open here for you guys. But I remember after we split up and I got I got in the shower, and I turned it on. And I just started crying. And I ended up on the floor just crying in the shower. Sure. There was just an emptiness. Yeah. What do you do? It's like a few words for it in that instance, because you just know that you're not supposed to be that way.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah, well, how did you get through that since we're talking about

Brian Roland:

I cried out, I cried out to God, I need you to direct me to guide me to help me through this to be to be here when I need you. And he was he never failed me. He never left me. My sister went through a divorce. And she called me one time says how do you do it? And I tend to look at I mean, I look at myself and then get on the phone with her and say I don't know. But I didn't realize it. It was only it was only God. And I told her that that was the only thing. So and

Terry Steen:

that is the neat thing. And that's where we're heading with this podcast. Because without God, how could we get through some of those times? And I'm reminded of that saying that says the one trouble with being an atheist is that you have nobody to talk to when you're all alone. Kind of funny, but that's reality if you did not believe in God, and you hid and earthly loneliness. It can't get any worse than that, can it?

Dan Wheeler:

No, you know, and it's funny the people that are lonely, sometimes very powerful people. People at the top you think have it all right.

Terry Steen:

Yeah, exactly. I was I was reading somewhere. I can't remember exactly where I found it. But back in 1913 when Wilson was turning over the presidency to Taft, this is become by

Dan Wheeler:

the way, I just want to point out Brian, that wasn't Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys man.

Brian Roland:

President. Yeah.

Dan Wheeler:

And it was a Dennis Wilson.

Terry Steen:

Can you can you name a first name of Wilson, Woodrow Woodrow Woodrow, I was wanting my parents to name me that but they wouldn't do.

Dan Wheeler:

They named you wouldn't row because he couldn't. Good, bad humor,

Terry Steen:

you find says of turning over the presidency. It was a great quote that Wilson untold Taff, that the presidency is the loneliest place in the world. And obviously it was tongue in cheek, but I think all of us can find times where we might be at a party, we might be somewhere surrounded by people. But it doesn't matter. We feel so lonely. And it doesn't necessarily have to do with the proximity of the people around us, does it?

Dan Wheeler:

No, it doesn't. Sometimes you can be in the middle of the of a room full of crowded people. Yeah. And feel all alone. I mean, I'm sure we've all felt that.

Terry Steen:

Yeah, yeah, I think back is probably more prevalent back in high school, or if you went to a party or something and you, you didn't really go with somebody, you didn't go with a friend. So you kind of walk in the room and you kind of know people, but you don't know people. And if you don't have a specific person to gravitate to, then you just sit there and go, Why am I here? It? That's when the loneliness tends to set in? Doesn't it happen in Scripture? Many times, the Bible talks about different characters in Scripture, right?

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. Paul, you know, the guy that was so prolific and we look at as a pillar of the faith and just wrote so many great epistles, he wrote a lot of them from prison, where he was alone. And in Second Timothy four, verse 16, he said, At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. And you think about that, and you're like, wow, when the going gets tough, your friends leave? Yeah. It's not the way it's supposed to be.

Brian Roland:

All you know, even over in Kings, First Kings 18. You think about Elijah, and, you know, there was a famine in the land that he told he was going to happen. And but I think what, what got me was, he was the prophet, and they are having all these profits because of this famine, and that just taken out, they were, they were assassinating them and killing them. And they were prophets of bail, that they were they were being protected. And so Elijah comes in file, and he's, he's a total on that. What is your God? You know, like, our gods, he's the one that told me that, that there's going to be this famine after I'm telling you about. So he he actually gets cocky with him. I mean, he taunts them, he has them set up to cattle, there are two bulls and they're going to set him up for sacrifice. But he says you do not light a fire call down your fire from your God. And as they're chanting around and, and doing their dance around, or even cutting themselves in these rituals, and they're asking for him to fire from from Vail, nothing happens. And Elijah is even saying what worship God is he shout louder. Perhaps he's in deep thought or busy traveling, or maybe sleeping, must be awakened. I mean, he was actually taunting them. But I say that because when he called down fire from heaven, it happened. But he was by himself, he was the only prophet there. And that knew the true God. And he was on top, he was on top, but he was at the bottom because he had nobody else around him then, and he had to have God show who he was, and prove to them that He was God and, and that he was right and what he was, what his he was preaching to them and telling them

Terry Steen:

and then to carry that further. Jezza Bell, who was the queen was so mad at him that he, one day was at the top, the next thing was totally fierce, fearful, ran off, and truly was alone, sitting under a bush along a river, afraid of Jezza Bell. So he went from the top to true loneliness. And it was only then that was there to take care of him. Yeah.

Dan Wheeler:

He was the most loved and then became the most wanted. Yeah, but not in a good way. Good way.

Terry Steen:

Exactly. And then really, when you when you think about it, let's go to maybe the ultimate example of Jesus, even Jesus felt times of loneliness. And the night before he was betrayed, if you'll remember, he was talking to his disciples. And, you know, I don't know about you guys, but could you imagine going through life, knowing what was going to unfold? He's part man, he's part God, but he knows what's going to happen. And he still go was through it. So he's sitting there that night saying that, indeed the hours coming Yes, it's now come that you will be scattered each to his own and will leave me alone. He knew that that night, they were going to scatter the leave him to be all alone. But he broke the code because he knew what his father was all about. And he went on to say, and yet I'm not alone, because the Father is with me. And that is our message for this podcast is that you may feel alone, you may not have people around you, but you are not alone. Because God is with you. I know

Dan Wheeler:

Brian was very open and sharing how lonely he felt after his divorce. And I mentioned going through the cancer battle with Beth. And even though I was with her, I was still the one that had to make all the decisions, and talk to all the doctors. And I remember one night, I had a hotel downtown Philadelphia and I went back to my hotel alone, it was late, and I just felt so alone. I was like, Lord, I mean, Beth's going through this journey. And I'm sure she feels lonesome. And I feel lonesome because I feel like, you know, I'm, I'm going to lose her. And I'm going through this and it's just something that, you know, your best friends can't walk with you even on that journey. But but on a lighter note, you know, Terry, you and I had a little taste of being at the top and started in college going away back. We don't

Terry Steen:

bring it up all the time. But on the other hand, we don't mind it.

Dan Wheeler:

I know. And I did hate to bring it up. But we hosted the harvest festival. And we decided to really just go for it. We open the show coming out in tights and wearing tutus

Terry Steen:

and juggling. And it went downhill from there.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. But afterwards, we're in our dorm and we can hear people talking through the vents gone. Were those guys hilarious. They were great. That was the funniest thing in the world. And we realized we're alone. And we didn't have any dates. Think in the tights and tutus might have had something to do with it.

Terry Steen:

There's, there's a good chance because I had just started dating this girl. I only had a few dates. Your name was Karen. And busy that week, getting ready for this thing I didn't think about trying to get a date. And you know, for me, as you know, I had to plan three to four months ahead to get someone to go out with me. Exactly. And

Dan Wheeler:

a lot of payments involve a lot of cash.

Brian Roland:

Remember, you said you stood in front of the mirror and reversed a lot too?

Terry Steen:

Oh, yeah, remember that. So this really happens. I go up to her. I go up to Karen after it's over. I'm leaving you in the dust Dan if I can. And she's up and wants to do something. She's got a date.

Dan Wheeler:

And I'm sure she said it. This guy wears regular pants, not tights and a T shirt. But it's lonely at the top, Terry. You know, I'm sure that goes down as one of the greatest harvest festivals of all time. I don't know Ryan was in 1001

Brian Roland:

where I was on top. I had the best band there and we were knocking it out. And next thing I know I was on the bottom because I was blamed for shutting it down.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah, we won't go into totally into why. But anyway, you know, we all have those stories. We've all shared a personal story. But the thing is, no matter how we feel, you know, you can feel lonely and you feel like it's all pervasive. But the fact is, God is always with us. It's up to us to reach out to him. And you know, I look at some of the verses Isaiah 4110 says Do not fear for I'm with you do not be dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. And I think guys, sometimes the problem is we don't reach out to God and say God helped me in this battle of loneliness. Please bring a friend or please let me know you're here and near. And and he always seems to let you know in one way or another. I saw so many coincidences as people would call them during Beth's journey. But we knew they were miracles times when I needed to know God was there. He was with us. And he showed us

Terry Steen:

Yeah, you're right Dan, and I kind of followed David Jeremiah. He is a great pastor and a teacher. And I ran across the quote that he had which I think applies here it says As only God can solve the problem of loneliness, He created us in such a way that we have the emptiness that can only be filled with an intimate relationship with him. And that is so true. There's just something within us that will always be to some degree lonely on this earth, unless we can fill that portion with a relationship with God. And that's what he keeps reinforcing in the Old Testament, all throughout the Old Testament, all throughout the New Testament. I won't leave you, I won't forsake you. I'm there and we just can't get it in our head. Sometimes, you know,

Brian Roland:

a lot of things very, a lot of times people will look at that no, say, but it's not physical. He's not here. I can't see him. But if you know him, you can feel him. Yeah. And you know, he's there, you know, he's always with you. And you could see how doors open and our doors close and how things happen around you. And you're going How did this happen? Or why did it happen this way? But you do have somebody a companion there with you at all times. And that's where people get off on it. I think they have to see a physical, they don't get it. Right. Well, it's like my mom used to say, can you see the wind, you can feel it, I think you'd see as the Rio is what it's doing, just like you see what God is doing in our lives.

Dan Wheeler:

And he assures us throughout Scripture, as Terry said, Matthew 2020, surely I'm with you, even to the very end of the age, Joshua, one five, I'll never leave you or forsake you. And I love this one. It says, Psalm 3418, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He's not just a friend, but he's the best friend we can possibly have. Which brings us to our final point to wrap this up this, how can we reach out to the lonely? I mean, do you guys ever look for those opportunities, you know, we need to be looking at and find someone that needs a friend, you know, being a single person again, you know, after losing path, it's, there's times I wish people would invite me out to do stuff.

Brian Roland:

Yeah, you know, that is true. I think that we don't look to the need enough, we were not looking for it. And it's I know that I find that something was somebody will go by or something will happen, I'm going to I should have said something or I should have been directed in that way. And you don't do it. And it's time that has passed by and you can't go back and redo it. But the Bible instructs us on things we should do to to help out and reach out to lonely people over in James 127. I mean, he tells us to look after the orphans and widows in their distress. And so he's telling us to draw towards them to help them. We need to be there for these folks, because they are there alone, an orphan or a widow, they're by themselves. And it just when you find somebody in that situation, that's we say, God, what do we need to do here? What do you want us to do? How do you want us to approach this and he'll let you know, he'll get you there.

Terry Steen:

Funny, you say that one, Brian, I was just gonna bring that one up. Because Karen and I have a number of ladies that are either widowed or single. And as they're getting older, we know that there's some loneliness there, we know that there's some financial need there. And over the years, I'm talking into decades now, we've always done our best to almost adopt them, we always stay in touch, we always try to get out and have a meal. When we see a need, we write them a check. And so they always know even though we're not specifically a part of their life, they always know we're there. And it's, that is so critical, isn't it for the lonely to know that somebody's there, there's someone that I can always go to, you know, beyond God, but always go to from a practical standpoint. So Karen and I have really made an effort to do that. And it's based on that, because God says it's pure religion when you do that.

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah. And Isaiah 558 10. This is the New International Version. It says that if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the new day. Boy, the fact is, guys, we live in a world filled with lonely, broken people. And those are the people that Christ came to reach that we are God's hands and his mouthpiece. And he said that we are to take the gospel to all people, and we need to be reaching out to these people. And if we don't shame on us, I mean, it's what we are called to do. And I think that was the cool thing about the early church, how they would come together and help with all those needs. And by the way, Brian, I don't know did Terry lose his reward because he just told us about all those thing.

Brian Roland:

Just a little dent in their crown that's

Dan Wheeler:

Yeah, I think it might have gotten. I'm just saying Terry, I'm not judging Jughead

Terry Steen:

they only have three or four and delusion.

Dan Wheeler:

That gives me room. Well, before we get too crazy, I want to just ask my friend John Matarazzo, our producer, John, you're you're a young guy, what you're 35. But you know that you can 36 or 36? Sorry. You know, you can be lonely at any age, and you've probably seen it among your peers.

John Matarazzo:

Oh, yeah. And, you know, actually the scripture that you guys brought up earlier, the first Kings 17 and 18. There's a verse in there that really has helped me because when Elijah felt that he was all alone, there's this guy named Obadiah, who was a devout believer in the Lord. And in verse three and four, it actually says that even though while Jezebel was killing off the Lord's prophets, Obadiah had taken 100 prophets and hidden them into caves. And so he felt like he was completely alone. There was actually somebody there that was keeping profits alive. And so he wasn't actually alone, even though he felt like it. So that's for me, that's always a good reminder to know that even though I feel alone, God is always saving people around us so that we're not alone. And we just need to let him be the ones to show us that we're not alone.

Dan Wheeler:

So the moral of the story is when you're lonely, go cave hunting, see if there's no, it's Thank you, John. And we so appreciate everything John Matarazzo does. He's our producer, and he helps make this podcast happen. Guys, it's been a great time together great discussion. And I hope that a lot of people who are listening if you are someone who is lonely, please reach out to God, he's there, he can help you. Ask him to bring a friend into your life and reach out to us at Fearless faith, you can reach out to us we're on Facebook at FFM 60. You can go to our YouTube channel, you can go to our website at EFF faith.org and send us a message we'd love to hear from you. And guys, I guess that wraps up another episode of fearless faith. It's been a joy. It's always a good time. Thank you so much for joining us and we'll hope you'll join us next time for another edition of finished strong

John Matarazzo:

Thank you for listening to finish strong for more information about finish strong and fearless faith. Check out their website F faith.org. Make sure that you rate and review this podcast to help more people accomplish their God given purpose so that together we can finish strong