If one was to ask us what is the most difficult thing about moving here to South Africa, the answer would not be about language barriers or adapting to a new a culture. The answer would be our loss of friendships and times with family. While social media definitely keeps us connected it cannot replace the physical shoulder to cry on, spending time with friends’ children or giving my Dad the familiar kiss on the head. There are times of loneliness. While we deeply miss our family and friends back home, we continue to pray and trust that God will allow us to develop meaningful friendships here.
A friend of ours sent us this word of encouragement from David Jeremiah’s daily devotional:
Jesus twice told His listeners that despite the solitary nature of His work, He was not alone. In John 8:16, He said, “I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.” And in John 16:32, He said similarly, “You will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”
Sometimes our work for Jesus yields a loneliness that can tempt us to self-pity. Yield not. Even if you’re the only Christian in your school, office, or apartment complex, you’re not alone. Jesus has promised to be with you to the end of the age and to never leave nor forsake you.
Perhaps you’re serving the Lord far from home, but by opening the Bible you have Moses, Job, David, Isaiah, Peter, and Paul as your companions. You have the Holy Spirit whispering to your heart. You have Jesus standing beside you and the Father listening to every prayer. You are not alone today. The One who sent you is with you.
So yes, while sometimes we feel alone and long for our relationships back home, God’s word tells us that we are not. He is here with us…a prayer or page in His word away.