This sponsored post was provided by Sarah Walton for Hope When It Hurts.
I remember when we began realizing that my eldest son struggled in ways that other children seemed not to. From a young age, he began displaying behavior that was defiant and destructive, and has caused a decade of confusion and chaos in our home. Countless doctors, tests, and evaluations seemed to leave doctors shaking their heads.
As the struggles turned into life-altering challenges, I left social events, stores, and church feeling increasingly lonely. I was on a scary journey that it seemed no one else could relate to. I found myself pulling away from those I cared about, staying home, and pushing down the stress and emotional turmoil building within me. No one could truly enter into the pain, heartache, and loneliness growing in my home and within my heart.
But—and I still find this surprising, and wonderful—over these lonely years I have discovered within me a thankfulness for the lonely road I have been given to travel. Walking it has brought me a greater understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and to know him not only as my Savior, but my comfort, sustainer, hope, and strength. That’s what drove me, together with my friend Kristen Wetherell, to write Hope When It Hurts—I wanted to encourage other hurting women to fix their eyes on the Lord Jesus.
But this doesn’t happen automatically; at least it didn’t for me. There are particular lies about loneliness that the devil whispers in our ear, and you and I need to learn to recognize and confront them with truth.
Lie #1: Loneliness means I am alone
There are times when God allows us to feel alone, with the purpose of driving us deeper into his word and to prayer in search of a hope-filled and life-giving relationship with him. There is only one “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1 v 3), and he does not sleep in your house or go to your church. He is Jesus. We cannot find true and lasting comfort in anyone but him, and when he is all we have left to turn to, we discover he should have been the first one we turned to.
Lie #2: No one will ever be able to understand my pain
When we suffer it becomes very easy to live resentfully, because no one seems to understand. And yet there is One who is familiar with pain, who walked a harder path, who knows yours and mine, and who walks before and beside us. “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53 v 3).
Jesus Christ is the only one who can enter into our pain, fully and completely. He alone knows our hearts, temperaments, insecurities, fears, emotions, and desires. Jesus knows the pain of loneliness. He knows the loneliness of being misunderstood, the loneliness of being rejected by his own family, the loneliness of praying in agony while his closest friends drifted off to sleep nearby, and the loneliness of being abandoned by his Father. And he did it all for you. Our loving Father sent his own Son down the loneliest road ever known to man so that we would never have to walk any road apart from him.
Lie #3: I will always feel alone
Although this road of following Christ can feel so lonely at times, we know it won’t be forever. When Christ calls his people home, we will be gathered with a great multitude of saints and we will praise his name together. Unity, empathy, acceptance and joy will replace the isolation and loneliness. Christ will have crushed the enemy and all his evil schemes to drown us in hopelessness and despair, freeing us once and for all from the loneliness of suffering.
There are some incredibly painful, long, lonely roads that some of us are asked to walk. Perhaps you are walking down one today. Although you may feel alone, Christ has walked the lonely road to Calvary so that you would never have to walk any road apart from him. One day, the road will end, and it will end in the eternal city of God’s people. The loneliness of this world will be washed away in the presence of Christ. The path is uphill, but the summit is glorious.
This is adapted from Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help you Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering, by Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton. Pre-order now from Amazon or The Good Book Company, or download a free sample chapter at www.thegoodbook.com/hope.