Grief and Suffering

Alone In The Desert

I am so excited to present the third of four Letters Of Hope. Each Letter is a dose of encouragement from someone who has struggled before. Sara Willoughby reminds us that God is with us in the lonely desert.

To the one who feels alone-

I don’t know exactly what you’re going through right now, or why you are feeling lonely today. But I want to give you a big hug. Whoever you are, whatever is happening in you and in your life at this moment, I want you to know that I am praying for you. I want you to know that you are not alone, no matter how isolated or abandoned you feel, literally or metaphorically.

As a homeschooled third culture kid, recently moved back to the United States, I felt alone.

Years later, sitting in a large group of friends and teenagers, I felt alone and out of place.

Stuck in my bed, sick, for many months, I felt alone.

Out in the middle of the wilds of Montana, where the bears outnumbered the humans, we felt alone.

Rocking back and forth on the floor in my closet, sobbing uncontrollably with anxiety and depression, wondering when my panic attack would end, I felt alone, sure no one could understand what was going on inside my head.

Watching other’s lives move on, seeing friends slip away and disappear when I needed them most, I felt alone.

Each of these was a different kind of loneliness. Sometimes it was a left out loneliness. Sometimes it was a the-grocery-store-is-three-hours-away-in-one-direction kind of loneliness. Sometimes is was a realization that we looked like nutjobs to the rest of the world kind of loneliness. Sometimes it was a, “God, why have you forsaken me?” kind of loneliness.

My desert story takes me to the literal desert… dust, 100 degree fahrenheit temperatures, and all. And… it’s a bit lonely.

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

Maybe you feel alone too. Lost. Forgotten. Misunderstood. But, dear one, let me share with you two pieces of truth that I beg you not to forget, as I have sometimes. You are not as alone as you feel or might think.

First, there is nothing new under the sun. Whatever you are going through no matter how bizarre or unique it seems, other people are quietly fighting the same battle somewhere. It’s true. Yes, each person’s exact experiences will be different because we are each different, but no temptation or trial has overtaken you that is not common to humankind. (See 1 Corinthians 10:13.)

Don’t believe me? I might not have believed me either… and I sometimes still doubt that truth. But that doesn’t make it less true. I have faced crazy things that you might not even believe… and though I thought I was the only one at the time, every time I’ve come to find that I wasn’t. That so many other people face the same things.

Second, you are not alone. And even if there was truely no other human that had ever even imagined the battle you are fighting, you still wouldn’t be alone. Our Creator and Maker will never ever forsake us, forget us, or abandon us. God sees every single tear and knows precisely what pain we are feeling in all it’s varying array. He knows. He understands. He loves.

And He will never leave us to face it alone. All we need  to do it turn out hearts to Him. All we need to do is let go and cast ourselves into His strong arms. He will never fail us. His love never runs out. His grace is sufficient. He will never let the righteous be shaken. Even when we were sinners He died for us. He will never leave us.

When we think He has gone, it is us that are blind. The clouds can perhaps obscure the sun for a bit, but they will never be able to blot it out or make it go away. God is always there in our happiest moments and in our darkest ones and in our loneliest ones.

Dear one, I’m so sorry you feel so alone. But please know, you aren’t alone. Loneliness is a heavy burden to bear. But even in it, don’t forget that there is One who will never leave you or betray you.

Your sister in Christ,


Sara Willoughby is a 16-year-old girl who loves to write and have adventures. She is a Third Culture Kid, a Lymie, and a B.R.I.G.H.T. Lights leader. She writes for Romans535Blog, FoundWhoIAm, and Th!nk Magazine.

8 thoughts on “Alone In The Desert

  1. Sara, thank you so much for this post. As an TCK, I found great encouragement in this post. Thank you for your beautiful words! ❤️

          1. Okay! I’ve already talked to Bethany, and she said to ask you. So, I’ll send it to you when it’s posted. 😉 Thanks!

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