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.
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 email@example.com to get it published among the other Stories of Hope.
For His Glory,
To read more on the hope we have in suffering, you can purchase “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here.
Previously posted on Thegoodbook.com
9 thoughts on “Where to turn when loneliness is overwhelming”
Thank you Sarah. I cried when I read about your weeping. I understand. I love that God understands our sorrow but then brings us to Himself, to be comforted by His lovingkindness and reminder He is always with us. Your transparency is so encouraging!
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Amen! I’ve become increasingly grateful for his grace, patience, and love as I stumble my way through life…often feeling like a complete mess. He is so faithful to carry us through the mess and somehow bring something beautiful out of it in the process.
Sarah, thanks your honest post. I can’t even count the times birthdays, Christmas, or our anniversary has been cut short or canceled because of my illness! Anger and frustration is a natural response to dashed expectations but thanks for bringing the truth…we are never alone! I’m so glad our paths have crossed as you have been a comfort to me. Isolation tries to take over but we must remember we are not alone and we are placed in a big family with a loving Father. I pray you do get to go out, celebrate soon pain free! Blessings and Happy birthday from France.
Thank you, Sara! Amen to all of the above! I know you know all too well this battle with discouragement. A friend recently said to me, “You need to stop trying to plan outings and instead plan sick days. Send the kids away and let your body let down in your own home where you can relax and take care of yourself.” I’ve never thought about it, but in this season, I love the idea! One day, Lord willing, those outings will be sickness free. But if not, I have to trust God’s purposes in it. Blessings to you, friend!
Thank you, Sarah, for co-authoring “Hope When It Hurts.” It’s a beautiful book, birthed out of much suffering. I am re-reading it again, and have given copies to other hurting people. I also heard you and Kristen interviewed on Revive our Hearts and purchased the cd of your interview and was so blessed by it. Yes, dear Sarah, “life hurts”, and we can’t go through it alone without God. I thank you (and Kristen) for being instruments of His comfort and grace in other people’s hurting lives. May God continue to bring “beauty out of ashes” in your life.
In His love,
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Oh this blesses me so much, Arlene! Thank you for taking the time to share this encouragement with me! To God be the glory. With gratitude, Sarah
Sarah: I’m leaving this note here because I couldn’t find a “Contact Sarah” button on your website….but I simply wanted to reach out to you and tell you that your article on “prodigals” (3 Prayers for Prodigals) gave me real comfort a few nights ago.
My wife did a quick search the other night and sent me the link to your article. We have been worrying and praying for our 26-year-old son, Adam, for the last year or so. He is suffering from mental illness—we’re fairly certain that he is bi-polar, and he is currently in a manic phase which has resulted in him undergoing a drastic and troubling change of personality—we hardly recognize him or his behavior. In some ways, it’s like observing a stranger. He has stolen money, abandoned his family and friends, and 4 months ago, left his home here in Cincinnati and drove to Denver where he is now living (who knows where?) and surviving (on who knows what?)….and smoking weed daily, and making very strange posts on social media, and saying mean and hurtful things about members of his family…..and to say the least…he is “lost”.
Before I read your article the other night, I had been praying that God would “break Adam” to the point where only the blood of Jesus could save him, but I will tell you that my “fear” in praying that prayer has been that the “brokenness” that I’m praying for might result in Adam ending up in a Denver morgue. And yet, I do have complete faith that God has a plan for Adam….and that God’s perfect will for Adam is truly what I desire for him.
So….I just wanted you to know that your article AFFIRMED in me that my prayers for Adam are the right prayers…and I simply wanted to thank you for that affirmation, Sarah. God has used you to encourage me…and to strengthen me…and to give me hope. And I thank Him for those gifts.
God bless you, and your ministry.
Thank you for taking the time to share this, Jim. My heart hurts for what you are going through with your son, but praise God for how he is sustaining and leading you. I thank him that he spoke to you through these words and I pray that God will continue to be near to you and help you keep your eyes fixed on him as you plead for your son in prayer and do all that you can to provide help for him. Thankfully, the Lord never leaves us to navigate these hard roads on our own. Prayers for you and your family, Jim. ~Sarah
I will die from this brutal loneliness. God has poured so much Love into my heart, I have no place to put it. I am even alone when I am with fellow believers. It is too late in life (62 next month) to find a love, I will suffer until The Good Lord calls me home. Soon I hope.