Don’t Overlook This Important Relationship
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)
I answered the door with a red, swollen face. My tears glistened, and I dared not blink for fear the waterfall that would flood my soul.
On the other side of the door stood my friend, Stephanie, with two smoothies. One for me; one for her. Just a few minutes earlier, I had called her with the news, “It’s a tumor.”
With a growing bump on my baby boy’s head, we arranged to see a pediatric specialist. For most of his life we’d observed this spot on Elijah’s skull, but I still didn’t expect to hear those three words.
We scheduled surgery two weeks out and made arrangements for pre-op visits. But shockwaves rumbled through my soul. What about right now? I silently screamed. What do I do while I wait?
With my husband at work and family hundreds of miles away, my fingers quivered as I dialed Stephanie’s number. “Do you need me to come over?” she asked. At first I refused, but as the reality of going home to an empty house consumed me, I called her back.
She took my smoothie order and minutes after I walked through my door, she knocked.
The rest of the afternoon she sat with me. She didn’t do or say anything special. But she just sat with me.
She let me unravel and face my deepest fears. She listened to the cry of my heart. She supported me and believed in me, even when I wasn’t sure I couldn’t handle this.
A few years back as I read through the Bible, I moaned at the sight of my assigned text for the day. It was a list full of names I couldn’t pronounce and how many sons they had … and all their names.
It’s places like this in Scripture that I sometimes wonder, Why is this in here? I know all Scripture is inspired by God, but what am I suppose to do with this? Then, there it was.
In the midst of the list of King David’s counselors, advisers, army commanders and officials, God breathed this, “Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend” (1 Chronicles 27:33b, NLT).
In a “Who’s Who” text of all King David’s men, God named his friend.
This glimpse into the life of a man after God’s own heart challenges me to rethink my friendships. Sadly, in the busyness of life sometimes my friends fall to the bottom of the list. And we all know we never make it to the bottom of the list.
Too often my friendships go unnourished. It can even feel selfish to seek out time with them. An inner whisper suggests I’m skipping out on responsibilities or neglecting duties far more important than “girl time.”
But as our key verse reminds us, God wants us to “encourage each other and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a). And to do that we have to prioritize each other from time to time.
Friendships might seem trivial or even optional, but in God’s design it seems they are as important as counselors and commanders.
A few weeks later, the surgeon successfully removed the tumor from our son’s skull and deemed it benign. In the following weeks, while our baby wore a bandage that wrapped completely around his head, a carousel of friends tended to us. They brought food, called to check on us and loved on our little patient.
They encouraged us and built us up.
What an important reminder to invest in our friends. Prioritize them and pray for them. And let’s start today!
Dear God, it’s awesome to consider Your purposes for friendships. Thank You for making me Your friend, through Jesus. Thank You for the gift of earthly friendships that sharpen me and challenge me to be more like You. Move my heart to love my friends the same way You love me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (NIV)
Job 2:11a, 13, “When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him … Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When is the last time you intentionally sought out a friend to build her up? List one or two things that keep you from doing this more often.
Who could use your encouragement today? Make a plan to contact that person by the end of the day.