Not because I was working, watching movies or reading a good book. Not because I was up working on the mountain size pile of laundry sitting in the corner of my room that calls my name.
I was on the phone with a friend. My friend was hurting.
As my friend poured her heart out to me and asked questions I didn't really have answers to, as I sat there listening: I prayed. I prayed for my friend. That God would guide her and comfort her. I asked God to give me the words to say to bring encouragement and comfort to her.
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Feelings of inadequacy flooded my heart as I failed at really offering her any scripture to stand on. I could have excused myself from her need for a friend. I could have brushed her off as she cried for someone to listen to her and just be there with her. I could have used the excuse that I was feeling unqualified and overwhelmed.
However, I felt God nudging me to be a friend through the hard stuff.
Through God's grace and mercy, He gave me the compassion, words and love to encourage my friend in that moment. I could have hiked tail and ran in the opposite direction. Yet, I choose to stand on God's strength and allowed Him to use me.
This morning, as the conversation replays in my mind, I'm reminded of a couple of people in the Bible and their stories of friendship that offer us a challenge and encouragement to dig deeper at really being a true friend; even through the hard stuff.
Look at the story of Job. Job 2:11 says that after hearing of Job's suffering, three of his friends left their homes to be with him, to comfort him and to minister to him. They wanted to meet Job where he was, in his raw pain. When they got to his house they didn't even recognize him. (Job 2:12)
What did Job's friends do when they got to him? His friends mourned with him. They sat on the ground with him in silence for 7 days and 7 nights because they saw how great Job's suffering was.
Job's friends didn't offer any excuses to turn around after they saw how deep Job's pain was. They sat with him through the hard stuff.
Now let's look at the story of Esther.
As a side note, I love the book of Esther. When others ask who I would like to meet one day, my answer is always Esther.
I'm reminded of her digging deep in prayer and fasting for her people. When a decree was sent out to have all the Jews killed, she asked everyone to fast and pray with her for 3 days and nights. (Esther 4:16)
She knew she'd have to go before the king to plead for the lives of her people. I'm sure many were her extended family and friends.
She must have been filled with fear, knowing that if you go before the king without his summoning you first, there was a possibility of being put to death. She showed true friendship and leadership. Knowing it was the right thing to do, she risked her life to go before the king to save her people.
She could have said no and let the massacre of the Jews happened but she didn't. She loved her people. Even through the hard stuff.
It's easy to be a friend when all is good, but are we being a friend through the hard stuff?
I want to encourage you to dig deeper, stand above the crowd and be a true friend.
Let's be encouraged by the God's Word.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up, but pity one who falls and has no one to help them up.
The truth is we need each other. That is how God created us. Let's link arms and be there for each other through the good, the bad and even the through really hard stuff.
Besides, one day you might be the one needing a friend through your hard stuff.