People are weird. People can be hard to get along with. People can hurt us. And yet, God asks us to love one another. To work together as a body, to be one another’s support. Just as the finger needs the hand and the leg needs a knee, we need one another. We won’t get through the battles and challenges of life alone. We just won’t. I know this, because I’ve tried—and I nearly sank under the waves.
I was raised to be independent, and just like toddlers, I wanted to do things “by myself.” I was diagnosed with cancer last June 2016 and I determined to be the strong one. I didn’t want my family or friends to worry, so I did not show my fear. I let people know that I could handle the trips to get treatments on my own; I didn’t need anyone to go with me. This year is another challenge for me. Another cancer!!say what???Then I started to crumble. I really thought I could handle this by myself. I was wrong. Yes, I prayed. Yes, I spoke the truth of God’s Word. But I needed something else. I needed the support of other people in order to find my brave.
I am not alone. Let me say that again: I am not alone. The heartbreaking reality is that so many people live isolated lives. While there are certainly no perfect people, there are those around us, in our school, our church, our work, etc, who will bring strength to us and who will help us find our brave. We will fulfill what God created us to do only by getting and staying connected with those who join us on the journey. We were not created to solve all of life’s problems on our own.
Friendship is crucial as I navigate life. JWe’re all hungry for meaningful connection and the kind of relationship where we can raid each other’s fridge and keep no thing hidden. But I am confident on what I shared with my close friend. She didn’t even say a word. She laid down next to me, and listened. Her presence felt so powerful. Without advice, solutions, or next steps, she just sat with me in my pain, and for the first time in a long time, I believed that I wasn’t alone. We began to trust each other and build a strong friendship over time.
There is power in presence. In the same way that God is with us, we demonstrate his character and nature when we choose to be with others. Presence provides comfort, care, and a sense of security. It’s choosing to sit down with someone in the middle of his or her journey, and say, “I’m here. I am not trying to fix you, heal you, save you, or correct you.”There’s humility in presence. We usually don’t have the answer to life’s problems, and we don’t have to act like we do. We can just show up and be with people, as they process life, and look to God for His help. There is only one Savior, and we are not Him. If we become better listeners than advice givers, we learn to know people, rather than fix people. When we seek to know each other, we tend to withhold judgment and engage as two people on the same level. None of us are any better or worse than the other. We’re all just walking each other home to Jesus.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT
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. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a (NIV)
““I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” John 15:9-12 NLT
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