Feeling lonely?

Joe and Rachel Clarke

Loneliness is a big deal here in Portugal. Last week I conducted an online survey to find out what the typical student thought about it and the results were sobering.

  • 55% said that they had felt lonely in the past week.
  • 65% said they rarely told anyone when they were feeling lonely.
  • 32% thought that getting a boyfriend or girlfriend would solve the issue.
  • 54% said that when they felt lonely they would try to distract themselves by watching Netflix.

In Portugal, family ties are strong but friendships, even within the evangelical church, are superficial at best.

But the gospel is good news for the lonely. Through his death, Jesus created 'in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility' (Ephesians 2:15-16). In other words, because of Jesus we have been reconciled to God and to one another. A new humanity has been created. A new community. A new people.

This is tremendously good news for those of us who are struggling with loneliness. God is always with us and we have each other. We are part of this new Christ-centred community.

Often we fail in our responsibility to be there for one another, to serve one another and to love one another. Please pray that we could model what true friendship looks like and that the lonely students in Coimbra, of which there are many, might find their hope, joy and comfort in Jesus. Please pray that the GBU, as a group, would be faithful in displaying what this new Christ-centred community looks like in practice, that in doing so many around them might be drawn into the loving arms of Christ.