They are out there. In crowded coliseums, busy airports, large families, big churches and every workplace. They are in small groups, between the best of friends and even present in good marriages. Lonely people are everywhere.

Lonely people are experts at hiding their loneliness. They laugh, converse and interact with others while masking their desperate need to connect, feel loved and be valued.

During a recent taxi ride with my wife, I struck up a conversation with our driver as he navigated our way through the inner-city jungle. I took a genuine interest in the captain of our vessel. I could tell most of his conversations with passengers were about the weather or sites of interest in the city.

Despite the limitations of a short 20-minute drive, we somehow connected. I learned about his life growing up as an alien in a foreign country, the challenges he faced gaining citizenship and certain details from his failed marriage.

As we neared our final destination, he revealed how lonely he had become. While he interacted with hundreds of people every day, it was clear the man I talked to in the mirror over the back seat of the car was suffering. He was lonely. He yearned to connect. For a fleeting moment, in the middle of the busy city, he escaped his solitude in conversation with me.

The meter beeped, the receipt printed and the taxi ride came to an end. Like those who had come before us and those who would follow, we were left with no choice but to leave our new friend-alone.

Though they rarely ride alone, lonely taxi drivers are everywhere. Their’s is the life of Adam as he experienced feelings of loneliness in the Garden of Eden. Only the lonely hurt this way. It was never God’s intention for man to be alone. He knew we needed each other and that we desperately needed Him.

Feeling lonely in a room full of people is like suffocating in a tank full of oxygen. The very thing we need most is readily available but totally unattainable, so close and yet so far.

God gives each of us the unique ability to eliminate loneliness. When we take an interest in others, we release them from the prison of loneliness. The challenge is to recognize the lonely people in our lives and to love them as Christ has loved us.

Life was never meant to be lived alone. Laughing at your own jokes gets old when you always know the punch line. How lonely is that? That is too lonely in my book. Did I hear some one cry, taxi! Let’s go get ’em!