In 2018, a national survey exploring the impact of loneliness revealed that this condition is now at epidemic levels in the United States and poses a severe health risk to the general population.
Survey results were released by Cigna, a global health service company, based on the UCLA loneliness scale, an instrument that measures and assesses subjective feelings of loneliness, as well as social isolation, by using a 20-item questionnaire.
Four significant patterns related to feelings of loneliness and social isolation emerged from the survey of more than 20,000 U.S. adults, age 18 years and older:
Nearly half of the respondents reported feeling alone, occasionally or continuously (46 percent), or left out (47 percent). One in four rarely or never feel as if there are people who truly understand them. Two in five feel that their relationships are inconsequential (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others (43 percent). One in five report they rarely or never feel close to other people (20 percent) or that there is anyone they can talk to (18 percent).
Bob Dylan once said that New York is the only place where you can freeze to death on a busy street and no one will even notice. Although urban centers are incredibly dense and swarming with people, the density only seems to compound the loneliness.
Thus, the confluence of urbanization and globalization is creating an expanding mission field for the church, given most of the global population continues to migrate steadily into urban centers. What then can we do?
First, loneliness is a signpost to something deeper.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 4:27 that “deep calls unto deep.” Many confuse this deep longing with a form of chronic anxiety, or something that has gone …
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