Friends

When a friend asked me to watch her daughter, I jumped at the chance to spend time in the company of a young child. I picked her up from morning kindergarten, and we began the walk to my house.

Mikayla talked about the story the teacher had read, the changing leaves, the sidewalk cracks, her violin teacher, the letters on the street sign, the green peppers growing at her house.

Somewhere in this delightful, mostly one-sided conversation, she took my hand, looked up at me and said, “It’s good to have a friend to walk with.”

Simplistic, yet profound, encompassing a lifetime of wisdom. I was driven to immediate praise to God for His kindness and love. His graciousness has brought countless friends across my path, some known, some unknown, some for years, some for a brief moment.

Created in God’s likeness as social creatures, we need friends, and it is a privilege to be used by God to be those friends…..
…A parent who texts, “I am praying for you.”
…The man at church who repairs your car free of charge.
…The Ukrainian woman who grasps the hands of the visiting pastor and says through an interpreter, “I pray for your American church every day.”
…The stranger behind you in line who hands you the two dollars cash you are short.
…A neighbor down the street who says, “I’ll drive you.”
…A spouse who listens as you talk non-stop for fifteen minutes because your day has been spent with people who come up to your knees.
…A college roommate who prays with you as you work through a deep sadness.
…The mentor who whoops, “I knew you could do it ”
…Another hiker who enjoys the beauty of a sunset with you in silence.
…The lady who shows up on the doorstep of a frazzled young mother—with supper in one arm and a hug in the other.

“Thank you, God, for the opportunities You bring across my path to be a friend. Keep my eyes open to appreciate friends you have brought to walk with me.”

Yes, Mikayla, it is good to have a friend to walk with.

Guest Writer  Jeanne M. Hicks

Burden Bearing

Often we read a passage of Scripture and then one day as we read it again, the Lord gives us new insight into its meaning. This happened to me when I recently read, “Carry each other’s burdens. . . . (Galatians 6:2). I experienced a progression of carrying someone’s burden.

My dear brother in the Lord just had both his legs amputated below each knee. I just broke down and sobbed my heart out for him. I mailed a card filled with words of encouragement on it. I called to see how he was doing and assured him I was praying for him. And I went to visit him.

He was sleeping when I went into his room to visit him at the rehab. For awhile I just sat by his bedside, silently praying for him. His eyes opened and he gave a faint smile when he saw me. I read two Psalms to him and then prayed with him. He finally said, “Brother, just your presence cheers me up.” Was it possible that just being there had somehow helped to lift his burden? I pray that is so.

I gripped his hand and as I said goodbye, I rejoiced that the Lord had me experience the new meaning of bearing my dear brother’s burdens. An old hymn by Ira Sankey we used to sing was ringing in my heart, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary. Burdens are lifted at Calvary. Jesus is very near.”

Having recently been twice in the emergency room and then in the hospital I was the recipient of dear friends from two churches visiting me and helping to bear my burdens as they prayed with me. How deep is the Father’s love for each of us.

When we start looking for ways to lift our brother and sister’s burdens, then we’ll discover the energizing power of our resurrected Lord and the pleasure it brings to His heart when we help to lighten someone’s load.