The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing, not curing…that is a friend who cares. Henri Nouwen
While I love and appreciate every sentiment of love we receive, what really touches my heart is when people will comment on one of my post, send a card, a gift, or do something special for us, while they, themselves either have gone through, or currently going through their own storm. I think of those who have done the most, and without fail, they are the ones who have gone through their own heartache and pain, let Jesus heal them, and are now so eager to get involved in God’s work. Then, there are others, who I know are battling cancer themselves, have a loved one hanging on, or have already had a great loss due to this terrible disease. Yet, God still gives them the strength and courage to help others.
I think of my own sister, Debbie, who just recently buried her own husband, after a long battle with this horrible disease; how she has emerged, not as a grieving widow, but as a child of the living God, trying to do as much to help others as possible. It wasn’t a week after her husbands funeral that she called me and said she wanted my Angel to have her dream vacation and offered a considerable amount to help make that dream come true. Then, concerned for my parents safety and well being, she purchased them a mobile home and has moved it on her property so she can help take care of them. Friends, that is what getting close to our God will do to you. I had the honor of assisting in my sisters baptism around 15 years ago, and to see her now loving others, thereby honoring God, has been such a blessing to witness. You see, as hard as it was to watch her husband suffer in those last few years, she was also able to watch him love and honor God all the way to the end, and continues to honor his legacy by doing what he always did, help others. When she called, she knew me, and that I would not allow her to give me any money, but when she said, Paul loved my Angel, and he wanted her to have her dream vacation, I knew it was God’s love flowing through her. Between her generosity and at least 32 loving souls who contributed, our trip was covered in full. There are still a few things I will have to pay for, my Angel wants to fly over a volcano while we are there, but the flights, hotel, and rental car are covered. What a blessing this is to us; to know there are so many people who care!
I think any of us who have had to take care of a loved one, or be there for a friend going through trials, will tell you it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. For me, it’s because I knew it was one of those special occasions where I had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You see, when we are ministering to the needs of others, it’s not really us doing it, it is the Spirit of God living in us, manifesting Himself in our lives; and there is nothing more rewarding than when the Creator of this Universe allows us the honor of partaking in His work.
We have dealt with quite a few difficult situations these last few years, and have been blessed with some amazing friends. I guess until you’ve had these experiences, or been close to someone as they went through them, it’s really hard to fully understand how much it means to have friends there to love and support us in our hour of need. I can still tell you every soul who showed up at our son’s funeral; every caring friend who showed up at the hospital every time my wife had surgery; everyone who sent flowers, cards, or just called to let us know they loved us and were praying for us. Recently I made a post about how Janice loves to tape the cards she receives to our bedroom door, as a constant reminder of friends who went out of their way to show they care. That door has been filled up twice, and now that she spends most of her day in our living room, in her hospital bed, she is now filling our front door again with the newer cards, and it’s almost fully covered. Friends, I wish you could just see her face light up when I bring in the mail, and she opens another card from a friend expressing their love and support for her; it means the world to her.
Right now, I know there are some of you who have friends and loved ones going through hard times; friends losing loved ones, family members battling cancer, and the list goes on. There are no shortage of opportunities, but it’s up to us to answer that call. I love the testimony before the song in this video. The truth is, we don’t need to have all the answers; sometimes there simply are none. But one thing we can do is simply be there, be a friend, and love them like Jesus. Because, I can assure you, when the fog lifts and they are able to think back on the friends who were there for them in their hour of need, those friendships will be strengthened, as they will then know who they can count on when life gets hard, and who was there for them in their hour of need. Always remember “Today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal and not wound.”
From my heart to yours!