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James Merritt - Never Alone

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    James Merritt - Never Alone
TOPICS: No Hard Feelings, Emotions, Loneliness

Well, I wanna say good morning to those who are watching online that may be watching by television and those in this room, this is a great crowd today, thank you. A lot of you guys that came back, it's great, we're just really, really glad to have you back. I wanna begin by telling you I had a totally different introduction, I'm changing it this morning because it's so apropos to what I wanna talk to you about today. If you've not been around for a while, we've been in a series we've been calling "No Hard Feelings," and it's about the emotions. Emotions are very powerful in our lives because a lot of us do what we feel like, in fact, most of the time that's what we do, we do what we feel like doing.

So, let me tell you something that happened to us this week, my wife's uncle passed away yesterday. And we were up there on Friday, to see him for the last time. And it was a very difficult time, he had congestive heart failure, he suffered just immensely, and he lived alone, basically, all of his life. I was instrumental, along with another guy up in Michigan, to help bring him to the Lord, about 30 years ago, happen to go up there a week before that, 'cause he had to do some business. And so I took him, and my mother-in-law, and Theresa, around and let him finish up his business. And so I got to spend the day with him and basically talk to him again. I said, "Uncle Dewitt, do you really know Christ"? 'Cause he'd just been told he had six months to live, and I knew it wasn't gonna be that long. And so, he told me he did, he knew the Lord. I said, "You ready to meet Christ"? Gave me that assurance.

So, we were up there, Friday, and he was in and out, and so they didn't too many people in the room. So Theresa had a good bit of her family up there, so I went out into the lobby just to sit. He was in an assisted living place. And I was sitting there reading, and I saw something that just... I almost lost it in the lobby. There were these two ladies, and one lady was on a walker, and she was obviously staying at the home, and the other lady, I don't know whether it was her daughter or maybe it had been a sister or a close friend, but they were talking, and so she was walking this lady to the door. So I just kept my eyes on 'em, and they were talkin', and I could tell this lady just did not want her to leave. And so finally they hugged and said goodbye, and the lady was teared up, and so this lady left.

And I watched this lady, I hope I can say it without breakin' up, I watched this lady in this walker. She just stared out that window. And I thought, what is she looking at? And then she began to wave, and then she blew a kiss. And when she turned around, on that walker, she was looking down at the floor. And my heart just broke because I knew what was wrong with her, she was lonely, just lonely. The world is full of lonely people. I'm talking to somebody here this morning, you're lonely. You may be in a marriage, but it's a bad marriage and you're lonely. You lost a spouse last year, and you're lonely. You're a single mom, and your last child just went off to college, and you're lonely. And you have battled this feeling all of your life that, "Nobody cares about me".

Some of you this morning have this feeling, "You know if I died, nobody would miss me. I don't even know why I'm here, I don't even know why I'm taking up space". I mean, lonely people are everywhere, and you know, they've got characteristics, like this lady, down-turned faces, sad eyes, so many lonely people, they just blend in with the world around them. You live next door, perhaps, to somebody that's very lonely and you don't even know it. You're sitting next to somebody today and they're just glad they're two seats away from you because they're so lonely. It's just a heartbreak, it's just a heartache. According to a recent survey, more than three in five Americans say they're lonely, and more and more people report feeling that they're left out, poorly understood, lacking companionship, and loneliness is on the ride.

Cigna, an insurance company, I think our church has insurance with Cigna, they found there's been a nearly 13% increase in loneliness since 2018. And what's amazing is, people from all walks of life experience loneliness. Prosperity can't ensure against it, position can't rise above it, power can't stand before it. And I just wanna ask you a question, can anybody, anywhere, anytime, at any place be more miserable than that person that feels like they're not important to anybody, nobody loves them, nobody cares about them, they're not on anybody's radar screen?

I read somethin' the other day, I almost wept for readin' this story. Four days before Thanksgiving, in 2013, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, there were some construction workers that went to an elderly woman's apartment to replace her gas pipes. They rang her doorbell over and over and over, and there was no response, so they called the police. Police went there, and they found a pile of the woman's mail inside the door, they noticed that the oldest mail had been postmarked 10 years ago. As they walked into that apartment, they made this unbelievable discovery. They found the decayed corpse of a woman who lived there, she had been dead for 10 years, 10 years. I read that story, and I thought, dear God, how lonely that woman must have been? The "New York Times" featured a study on loneliness, and they now say that America's experiencing a loneliness epidemic.

As a matter of fact, the sense of feeling alone or left out has become a global epidemic. But here's what's amazing, it can shorten a person's lifespan by as much as 15 years. And according to former U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, he said this, listen to this, "During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease, it was not cancer, it was not diabetes," he said, "The most common pathology I saw for people who came to see me was loneliness". One in six baby boomers... I'm a baby boomer. One in six baby boomers live alone. One out of two people in America, listen to this, one out of two people in America don't even know who lives next door, they didn't even know their names.

If you are a Gen-Zer, you're between 18 and 22, or you're a millennial, you're between 23 and 37, you have the highest rate of loneliness. And the crisis of loneliness is as grave a threat to public health as obesity or substance abuse. Listen to this, research tells us, "Lonely people are more likely to become ill, experience cognitive decline, and die early. Feeling lonely results in a 60% increase risk of functional decline, and a 45% greater risk of death". If you're one of those people saying, "You know, I'm that person you're talkin' to, I am so lonely". Well, here's some good news, there was a man in the bible, we don't know who this guy was, but he was in a battle with loneliness.

I want you to turn to the Book of Psalms if you brought your iPad or Bible, whatever, the Book of Psalms, right in the middle of the Bible. I want you to turn to Psalm 102, and I'm gonna share with you a passage of scripture, most of you, if you've read it, you've long forgotten it, you won't remember it at all. It's one of those verses you kinda... It's like a speed bump, you just blow over it, but it is so graphic. I want you to listen, I want you to imagine you're a counselor, and I want you to imagine this man comes to see you, and I want you to imagine you said, "Okay, what is your problem"? And imagine he says this to you, "I'm like a desert owl, I'm like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake, I have become like a bird alone on a roof".

You wouldn't have to have a PhD to know his problem, you'd say, "Buddy, you're lonely, you feel like nobody cares". I mean, he's looking at you, he says, "You know, I really feel like an isolated owl, and I'm wondering who gives a hoot"? That was a joke. But you know, hearing those words, many of you might be saying right now, "You know what, pastor? That's exactly how I feel, that's exactly where I am". Well, I've got some good news, there is a way up, and there is a way out of your loneliness. We're gonna find it together, I'm gonna say three quick things, you ready? Here we go. Number one, let's see the problem of loneliness, let's just face it head on, let's say the problem of loneliness.

I want you to understand something, there's a big difference between being alone and being lonely. For example, you can be alone without being lonely. There are some people, you know them, you may be one of 'em, there's some people who they're loners. They wanna be alone, they like to be alone, they don't feel lonely when they're alone. And by the way, there are times we all need to be alone. Let me tell you this, every one of us, everyday, need to find time to be alone with God, so there're times we need to be alone. On the other hand, you can be lonely without being alone. You can be in a crowd of 1,000 people, sitting elbow to elbow, and feel completely lonely. I promise you, there are people that go to college football games that are packed out but they feel extremely lonely, they do.

Henry David Thoreau once said this, "A city is a place where thousands of people are lonely together". That's so true. I remember when I went to college, I moved from Georgia to Florida, I've never been away from home, I was a momma's boy. I didn't wanna to go away from home, but I knew that I needed to go away from home. In fact, I've seen my oldest brother sitting back there, I've always held this against him. He's the one that said to me, "You need to get away from home, you need to go up," 'cause he didn't get away from home, he went off to North Georgia, real close to him. So he said, "You need to go away from home".

About a week after I got down there, I saw, "Yeah, you're fighting this to the last drop of my blood, that's what you're doing". 'Cause I wanna tell you something, when I walked on that campus and my mom and dad drove off, I've never had such a feeling of being lonely in my life. I cried myself to sleep for weeks, every single night. Now, I was with 2,000 students. Every day I was eating lunch with, I was talking to, I was going to class with, scores and scores of people. And though I kept my game face on every day, I was miserable 'cause I was so lonely. Because I grew to understand something back in that day, loneliness is not just lonesomeness, it's not just isolation in space, it's installation in spirit. It's the feeling that I felt, that you're cut off, you're unnoticed, you're unloved, you're uncared for, you're unneeded, and maybe even unnecessary.

And the thing about loneliness is, the silence of loneliness is deafening. For example, you can hear it at night as you call into a bed half-empty because your spouse has left you or they've passed away. You can hear it in a home that's quiet because all the kids have moved out, and you finally realized why an empty nest can be so sad. You can hear it in a mailbox that's empty at Christmas or your birthday. You can hear it in a computer because your email inbox dries up. You can hear it in a phone that never rings because no one seems to call anymore. And let me just warn you something, if you've not been there, one day you may very well be. It's a feeling you cannot escape, it's not a feeling quite like it because look, we're all born, we have a desire. We wanna be noticed, we want somebody to think about us, we want somebody to care about us.

Sigmund Freud, the great psychologist, once told the story of a school boy, he'd misbehave, and he was expelled from school because he'd done something bad. Well, that boy sat outside the classroom and started throwing rocks against the window. So the principal went outside and confronted the boy, and he said, "Look, I've expelled you from the school, why are you throwing rocks against the window"? That little boys said, "Because I want everybody to know I'm still here". You know what? There's some of us in this room right now, some of you watching right now, you got rocks in your pocket. You're looking for some window you can throw that rock against. You want somebody to know, "I'm still here". And see, the reason why we despise loneliness is because it is so destructive. I was amazed to read how loneliness can do untold damage to the psyche, into the mind.

Listen, this blew my mind. General practitioners... Most of us have what we call a family doctor, they're general practice doctors, they practice general medicine. This was amazing to me, most GPs say, the biggest thing they struggle with in their practice is what they call frequent attenders. I want you listen to this, you may be one of them. They either have psychosomatic illnesses, they just think they're sick, but they never are, or they're just not sick at all.

Now, listen to this, while this group represents only 10% of the patients that they see... You ready? While they only represent 10% of the patients that they see, they take up 50% of all their appointments. Why? They're lonely. Research shows that one of the major causes of frequent attenders is social isolation, one of the major causes of suicide is this overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Loneliness increases the risk of premature death from every cause, for every race. Listen to this, among Black people, loneliness doubles the rate of death for Black people. If you're an African-American, you've got twice as much chance of dying early if you're lonely, as a person who's not. If you're White, loneliness increases the risk of death 84%.

Loneliness is associated with a 40% increase in a person's chance of having dementia or Alzheimer's disease. We have to confront the problem of loneliness, it's real, and it's destructive. Here's the second thing I wanna say. Let's take the presence of loneliness, 'cause here's what I want us to do this morning. Okay, you're lonely. If you came to me today, you came to my office, you said, "Pastor, I'm lonely," here's the first question I'd ask you. "All right, tell me why you're lonely. Why are you lonely"? Because there's no denying the effects and the existence of loneliness. A matter of fact, you've notice something, I bet you've never noticed this before.

I hate to say this 'cause I'm not a drinker and I don't condemn people who do, I'm just not a drinker, but some of the best commercials on TV are beer commercials. Come on, be honest, they're just great, I mean, they're awesome, they're just great. Sometimes I wish we could advertise the church the way they do beer. But let me tell you something I bet you've never noticed in your life. Have you ever noticed, in these beer commercials, nobody is ever drinking alone? Why do you think they do that? D'you know what they're telling you? "Hey, if you're lonely, come to the bar, get a beer, have a Bud on us, this Bud's for you. You won't be lonely here". They know what they're doing. They're not just selling beer, you're what they're selling? Companionship, community, communication, connectivity, they know exactly what they're doing.

However, loneliness can be a feeling of helplessness no matter what you do or where you go, and who you're with. You can be forever lonely, it's just so hard to get rid of. I read the other day, this is so cool. One Summer evening, there was this violent thunderstorm. I mean, the lightning was crashing and the thunder was roaring and the wind was blowing and rain was hitting, and this mother was tucking in her little boy into bed. She's about to turn off the light, he had tears in her eyes and he was trimming his voice. He said, "Mommy, will you please sleep with me tonight? I'm so lonely". And the mother said, "Son, honey, listen, I'm sorry, I can't do that, I've gotta sleep with your daddy". He looked at her and said, "The big baby".

Now... Let me just say this, there are different kinds of loneliness. So I want you to know something, if you're lonely today... Don't despair yet, because let's think about what kind of loneliness do you have? Because sometimes loneliness is an infrequent state. It will pass in time, you will eventually get over it, but, yeah, sometimes it's just your everyday experience. I didn't know this, but Dr. Jeffrey Young of Columbia University describes three kinds of loneliness. So as you think about your loneliness, see what kind you may be in. He said there are three kinds. There's transient, there's situational, and the chronic.

Now, pretty much, you can figure out what those are, for example, let's okay, maybe yours is transient, maybe it just last a few minutes, maybe it will last a few hours, but you'll get over it. You know, we all, at times, just have this, for no reason, we just feel lonely, but when it passes, that's transient loneliness. But then there's situational loneliness. And that results from a significant event, you're lonely because your spouse dies, your best friend moved away, or you moved to a totally different location and you don't know anybody. That will pass as well, eventually, but the worst type of loneliness is what he calls chronic loneliness. This is where people become so preoccupied with themselves and with their problems, as a matter of fact, they determine to be lonely.

Dr. Young classifies as chronically lonely individuals, people who feel lonely for more than two years in their life apart from any kind of a situational event. So some of you may say, "That's me". Maybe you felt lonely all of your life, or maybe you've been lonely for years and years and years. And listen, be honest now. I want you to be honest with yourself if you're a lonely person. Some people are lonely because they choose to be lonely. They may deny it, but they choose to be. I mean, I've told you some people are just loners, some people have a fear of intimacy, or they're afraid somebody will hurt them. They've been hurt in the past, they don't wanna be hurt anymore, so they just isolate themselves. It's like covering up a wound, it's like putting your shoulder in a brace.

You're saying, "I'm not gonna let you hurt me anymore," so they self-isolate and they self-insulate because they wanna feel safe. But it doesn't matter because they're alone because they choose to be. Let me do what I believe, I believe this, I have to tell you this as a pastor, I'm convinced of this. I'm gonna prove it to you biblically. I really believe the greatest, single reason why everybody at times in their life feel lonely, I really believe it's because so many people lack a true, real, intimate relationship with God. I gonna prove that to you. Have you ever thought about what the first emotion you ever find in the Bible is, the first time anybody ever expressed a feeling? You've thought about it? It happened in the garden of Eden. The moment that Adam ate of that fruit, the moment that Adam ate of that fruit, what did Adam do?

Somebody tell me. He hid himself, he self-isolated. And then when God came looking for him in the garden, what did he say? "Oh, I was naked, and I was afraid that you would see me". So he had fear and he had loneliness, why? Because he had been cut off from his fellowship with God. I believe with all of my heart, I believe this to the day I died, there is a hole in the human heart that only God can fill. There's a presence that no other presence will satisfy except the presence of God in your life. And there's no greater loneliness than when you feel, not just cut off from people, but you feel cut off from God.

So I want you to take a rock, start right now, ask yourself the question, "Okay, why am I lonely? Are there certain things that are causing me to be lonely, that I can correct, that I can change, I can do, that I can manage"? Now, that leads to the most important thing I wanna say. This is my favorite part of this message. So you're lonely, and so you may be one of those people that say, "I'm not trying to be lonely, I don't wanna be lonely, I really wanna get out of my loneliness, so I really want you to help me with my loneliness". Well, let's stop the power of loneliness. "Okay, what I need to do? How do I do that"? Because loneliness is a void and a vacuum that needs to be filled and that lonely people want to fill.

And by the way, here's what I have learned. If you're healthy, if you have a healthy psyche and you're really, really sincere about it, it's amazing, the links you can go to, to get rid of your loneliness. I read the other day about... There was a man who went to see a psychiatrist. And he sat down and he said, "Sir," he said, "How can I help you"? He said, "Well, it's real easy," he said, "I want you to give me a split personality". And he said, "You mean, you want me to get rid of one"? He says, "No, no, I want you to give me one". He said, "Why do you want a split personality"? He said, "Well, then I'll have somebody to talk to".

Now, it's amazing the length that people will go to. Now, the good news is, you don't need a split personality to take care of loneliness, but let me tell you what you can do, let me tell you two or three things you can do. You gotta guess what the first one may be. The first thing you need to do is reach up, reach up. Jesus understands your loneliness. Let me tell you something, the Psalm that I quoted from Psalm 102, you go back and read that, you'll see at the very top of the Psalm, a superscription that says, "Messianic Psalm". That Psalm is a prophecy of Jesus, that Psalm this is talking about what Jesus experienced.

Do you understand the most lonely moment anyone's ever experienced in the history of this world was when Jesus was on the cross and He said something He never thought He would ever say in His entire life, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I know what it's like to be forsaken by everybody else, but God, my Father, the one that's had unbroken fellowship with me from eternity past to eternity future, you have forsaken me. I am not just alone," Jesus said, "I am so lonely". And I want you to listen to the words following the verses we read just a moment ago, listen to these words. Remember he's talking about Jesus. "All day long my enemies taunt me, those who rail against me use my name as a curse, for I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up," talking to God, "You have taken me up and you have thrown me aside".

It is one thing for a spouse to say, "I don't love you anymore," it's one thing for a best friend to stab you in the back, but imagine your heavenly Father, the one who is just like you, and you're just like Him, that had a love that no two human beings can match, because of our sin, throws Him aside. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me"? He experienced the ultimate loneliness, when even His own Father, the God who loved Him from eternity past to eternity future, turned his back on Him and left Him totally, totally behind. By the way, while I'm in the neighborhood, I believe in hell. That' a popular thing to say, it's all right, I go with Jesus.

People ask me sometimes, "Do you believe there's literal fire in hell"? I dunno, I have no problem with the Thiers, I have no problem with the Sunna, but let me tell you, you know what I believe the ultimate punishment in hell is? Loneliness, 'cause let me tell you something, there's no parties going on outside of the presence of God. Nobody's having a great time, nobody's drinking a beer together, and most of all, you really don't wanna have a part of God. You know what hell... Hell is for people who have said in their earthly life, "I don't want any part of you". And all hell is, is God's saying, "That's what you want, that's what I'm gonna give you".

The loneliest place in this universe is the place where God is absent. And that's exactly what Jesus experienced at that moment on the cross, at that moment... Think about it, He had been rejected by His Father, He had been rejected by His family, the only family member that showed up was His mother, he'd been rejected by His friends, and all of His disciples, not one of them, except one even came to watch Him die. And at that moment, Jesus was the loneliest person who has ever lived or ever will live. And that's why I want you to understand something if you're lonely, Jesus gets it. Jesus can look into you and say, "I've been there. I know what you're feeling, I know what you're feeling on eternal steroids, you don't even know what it really means, I know what it means to be lonely. I know what it means, when literally, for a moment in your life, nobody, even our Father turned His back on Me, I have been there".

That's why I wanna tell you something, here's the good news, because there's a God in heaven, you may be lonely, you're not alone, you are never, ever alone. God, the Father, will not turn His back on you, God, the Son, will not turn His back on you, God, the Holy Spirit, will not turn His back on. See, one of the things I know, it's one of the blessings on my life, I can always talk to Jesus. You could always talk to Jesus, you can always enjoy the presence of Jesus, you can always share with Him your loneliness because every time you do, Jesus is telling you, "I know where you are, I know what it's like to be alone, I know what it's like to be lonely".

And by the way, let me give you some... This is really great, if you're a child of God, you may be lonely. I was really lonely when I went off to college, but I knew deep in my heart, I was not alone, because as a child of God... Let me tell you what you enjoy. As a child of God, you enjoyed the permanent company of God, the Father, who said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you". You enjoy unbroken fellowship with God, the Son, who said, "Surely I am with you always". You enjoy the continuing presence of God the Holy Spirit, who Jesus said will be with for ever. So, my first piece of advice, if you're lonely, reach up, tell Jesus how lonely you are, remind yourself, "I may be lonely, but I'm not alone".

But here's the second thing, and I think it may be just as important, reach out, don't just reach up, reach out. There're other people out there that are lonely, maybe lonelier than you are, befriend them, be a blessing to them. I got an email last week from a lady, she's 88 years old. She's been watching me on TV for years and years and years. I called her on the phone several years ago, I think her daughter visited our church. And I love to do this when somebody tells me, "You know my mother, she shut in," or, "My dad, he can't go to church and they watch your channel". I'll say, "Hey, get them on the phone". I love to do that, I love to call them, you know.

In fact, I love to see if they know who I am, you know, a lot of times they don't, and that's a real let down. But anyway... so I get this email from this lady, she's 88 years old. I don't know the circumstances, but she's leaving the Midwest, and she's moving to a nursing home over in Johns Creek. I don't even remember who she was, but she wrote me an email this past week. She said, "Dr. Merritt, I've been watching you all these years on TV. You may remember, or maybe you don't remember that you called me and you ministered to me. I just wanted you to know that I'm coming to a nursing home in Johns Creek, and I would love to see you personally if you have the time". So I told Kelly, "Theresa and I are gonna go see this lady, she's gonna make an appointment, we're gonna go to this nursing home to see this lady".

I'm not saying that to brag, that's not my point, I'm not lonely. But even watching that lady in that assisted living, last Friday, I can't wait to go see this lady because I'm gonna brighten her day. I'm gonna walk into that nursing home next week or two, whenever we get the appointment with her, I'm gonna walk into that nursing home, and just my walking is gonna tell her just the one thing she wants to know, "Somebody knows I'm here, somebody gives a rip about me. I'm on somebody's radar screen, somebody loves me. Somebody is willing to take the time out of their schedule and come see me". You know what? I'm not a hero. You know what? That's exactly what Jesus would do.

So let me just close with this story. So close your Bibles, but then you PIN pad, close your Bible, let me tell you this. I wanna tell you about one of the most fascinating conversations I've ever had in my life, it happened about 25, maybe 30 years ago. I got on an airplane and I sat down next to this sweet, sweet, sweet, elderly, African-American woman. Her name was Alma, and we got to talk it on the plane, in fact, we were flying to Mississippi, she was from Mississippi, I think she was visiting a relative, and I was going to speak in Mississippi. So we were flying back and we got talking, and she was a strong believer. She committed her life to Christ in 1939.

And then she told me the most unbelievable story, when she was 16 years old, she became pregnant. She's not married. And that was back in the day when, frankly, it was a public shame to be a so-called unwed mother. She said when she got pregnant, she said immediately her whole world turned upside down. She said she was deserted by her former friends, she was ostracized from society, a lot of her family turned their back on her, she was a social outcast. She was so alone. I still remember 'cause I wrote this down. As soon as I got off the plane, I wrote down the conversation. She looked at me, and she said, "Pastor, loneliness was killing me". She said, "I wanted to die, I didn't care if it took the baby, I just wanted to die".

She was thinking about suicide. And she said she was sitting alone, I don't know where she was, she was sitting alone, and she was really thinking about taking her own life. And she said, "I didn't hear it audibly, pastor, I'm not saying it was out loud," but she said, "It sounded like it was out loud". She said, "Out of the blue, she heard these words, 'Alma, you're not alone if you have me.'" She said, "I looked around and I didn't see anything". And she said the voice came back, "Alma, you're not alone if you have me". She said it was at that point in her life she began to honestly and diligently seek the Lord. She said about a day later, she said that voice kept coming back, "Alma, you're not alone if you have me". As she said, "Pastor, the next day I got on my knees in my room", and she says, "I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart".

The tears were coming down her face, I can see it like it happened yesterday. And she looked at me and here's what she said, I'm quoting her, "Pastor Merritt, that has been over 50 years ago," so that tale's around 1990, "That has been over 50 years ago, and I realize today that as long as I have Jesus, I am never alone, never alone". We had a shouting spell on that plane, we almost got kicked off the aircraft. I thought, what an unbelievable testimony? And that beautiful lady was right then, and she is right now. Listen, there is no one in this life, you're not, I'm not, nobody, there's nobody wise enough, strong enough, powerful enough to guarantee you that you'll never be lonely, that you will never experience the feeling of being completely alone, but facts are more important than feelings, and here's the fact. The moment that you come to know God through Jesus Christ, you will never be alone again.

Let's pray together with heads bowed and eyes closed. I don't know who I'm talking to today in this room, I don't know that I'm talking to right now through this camera, but I bet I'm talking to some lonely people. I'm talking, I know this on television, I'm talking to people in prison, you're alone, you're lonely. Yeah, I'm talking to people in nursing homes and assisted living, I'm talking to people in hospital beds, you're lonely. The moment you give your life to Jesus Christ, you will never be alone again.

Listen to me, Jesus Christ died so we would never, ever have to experience the ultimate loneliness of being separated from Him forever. And if you've never made the decision that, that sweet Miss Alma made in 1939, would you be willing to make it today? Would you be willing to give your life to the one that will never leave you, the one that will never forsake you, the one that will always care for you, and the one that will even take you to be with Him forever the moment you draw your last breath? Would you like to give your life to that one today? If the answer is yes, whether you're in this room or you're watching right now, would you just pray this prayer right now? Would you just say something like this, would you just say:

Dear God, I'm so lonely, but I realize I'm not just lonely emotionally, not just lonely physically, I'm lonely spiritually, and I understand why now, because my sin has separated you from me? So Lord Jesus, believing you died for my sins in your loneliness, believing that you came back from the grave, right now, would you come into my heart? Would you take control of my life? I repent and turn away from everything I've ever done that's kept you away, and I give all that I am to all that you are. Forgive me of my sins. I surrender all I am that you have, and thank you for giving me this peace of knowing I'll never be alone again.

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