Who are your “heart friends?” The ones you can count on anytime to help you through whatever it is that ails you?
I am blessed with a few, and there are two in particular who pray with me, and for me, regularly. We have a 3-way message group that perpetually stays near the top of my devices, because we lean on one another via texts nearly every day.
As the snow fell yesterday afternoon, this message popped up on my screen:
Can one or both of u spend 5 min praying with me over the phone? I know it’s a snow day so may be too hard to break away I just feel it would be so good. Not urgent and nothing too serious just felt it would be a good blessing to do this.
My friend reached out when the Spirit prompted her, hoping that one or both of us could ‘be’ with her for a time, and it was my privilege to do so. In fact, I could see immediately that our conversation was what had been planned for me.
I’d been feeling a rather nondescript sluggishness all day – the let down after a wonderful Valentine’s weekend away perhaps – but the feeling was also rooted in my lack of trust and faith.
It’s easy to believe you are living a joyful existence when beautiful music plays, the food is delicious, and your eyes have new sights to behold. But when life returns to its normal pace – when the kids are bored during another snow day, a variety of real-world concerns plague your mind, and you are adding to the month’s to-do list while berating yourself for not making things “perfect” – where is the joy then?
It’s in these moments that I turn to my friends – my fellow believers in the world unseen. They remind me of life’s true purpose – that it’s not about how much we accomplish, or whether things turn out the way we expect or hope they will. In fact, there’s a very real chance that nothing will go according to our plans. That while we believe everything is working for our ultimate good – we won’t see this ‘good’ in our lifetimes. Scripture doesn’t promise us a smooth journey, just that we will never be left to navigate it alone.
And I write this from a place of incredible privilege. I am a citizen of a free country and so are my children. I’m in good health and so is my family. I have not known the pain of hunger or poverty. My suffering, compared to that of others, may be small. But is that the point, either?
No. God’s hand is on me and He knows my circumstances and those of my friends, and He’s dropped me into this space and time for His purposes. And as believers we know that we are given His strength, which we can find in one another at the times when we need it most. Our friendship is not mere chance. We were placed in one another’s lives for a reason – to help each other weather whatever storms come.
Last summer, I watched a local theater production of Mary Poppins and I was momentarily struck dumb when the delightful nanny says to her charges, “When will you learn to look past what you see?”
Learning to see beyond is actually a process of conscious and constant surrender, and it’s not easy. But we are promised the greatest reward possible. Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” (James 11:40)
So once again, we grab that umbrella of faith, our own or the one we borrow from a trusted friend, and we allow it to lift us higher, to the place of hope and true joy. This is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine of life go down.