Where to turn when loneliness is overwhelming

 
Sarah Walton | January 17th 2018

As my husband and I drove home from our night out to celebrate my birthday, I laid my seat back in the car and wept. I had looked forward to this night away for days but, as usual, I found myself gritting my teeth in discomfort, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t feeling miserable. By the time we were headed home, grief and anger had gotten the best of me. As I lay there with stabbing pain going through me, I groaned in frustration, “Sometimes I feel as though I live on an island, left to face this life on my own in this miserable body of pain. No one can see the misery that I live with and no one can do anything about it.”

Now, even repeating those words, I realize how inaccurate and wrong they are. Of course, I do feel that way at times since no one can physically feel the pain of my hurting body or fully grasp the grief and stress that I bear from the trials that plague our family. However, I’m never truly alone. First, and foremost, I know that I have a Savior who is always there with me and able to fully enter into my pain and suffering - even when others cannot. He sees the tears that flow from the grief of pain and loss in my life. He knows what it is to carry a burden that no one else can carry but himself—the cross (a burden far greater than any cross I will ever be asked to carry). And he knows that I cannot carry these burdens and pain alone. Therefore, in his grace, he continues to give me more of himself as I come to the end myself.

Sharing my suffering

Secondly, I am not the only one suffering on this earth and, although many may not know my specific pain (and the internal battle that comes with it), they can walk alongside me through it if I allow them in. The truth is, I am not on an island—I am in the family of God, along with every other child of his. Though this is done far from perfectly, brothers and sisters in Christ have been given the body of believers to comfort, strengthen, challenge, and grow alongside of each other—in every season of life.

Jesus continues to give me more of himself as I come to the end myself

This is, in part, why I wanted to be a part of writing Hope When It Hurts—30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering. Despite the truth that we are never truly alone in our suffering—we often feel as though we are. Therefore, Kristen Wetherell and I set out to write a book that addressed the hard realities of suffering, but also offered the hope and treasures that are found within it. We prayed along the way that God would use this small offering of ours to reach many who are hurting with the hope of the Gospel, the treasures that are found as we draw near to Christ in our suffering, and the reminder that we are never alone. By His grace, we have been humbled and in awe of how faithful he has been to answer that prayer.

Stories of Hope

It’s out of that same desire that we have created HopeWhenItHurts.com—a place where those who are hurting (or walking alongside loved ones who are), can hear stories of people from every walk of life who have experienced God’s faithfulness, goodness, and glory shown within their suffering. It is a place to be reminded that you are not alone, but, part of a family of believers who are united by one faith, one hope, and one King. Though we may face different forms and levels of suffering, Christ offers us comfort through His Word and one another. Our hope is that we can provide a place for those who feel alone in their suffering, and are searching for community, to come and be encouraged with the hope that we have in Christ—our suffering Savior.

Real stories, real people, and a real hope. Whether you want to take part by briefly sharing your own story and the ways you have seen God’s faithfulness and goodness in your suffering, or you just want to be encouraged and comforted to know that you are not alone - we invite you to join us in our mission to share the hope of the Gospel to a hurting world.  

No matter what you are facing—you are not called to walk it alone.

Do you have a Story of Hope that you'd like to share with the Hope When It Hurts community? Send it to hopewhenithurts@thegoodbook.com to get it published among the other Stories of Hope.

Sarah Walton

Sarah is married to Jeff and is mother to four young children. She lives in Chicago and blogs at setapart.net.

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