“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25
This week I was feeling very burdened, a little scared, and alone in a problem that I was dealing with… or not dealing with whichever way you want to look at it. So I plucked up the courage to send out a cry for prayer to some of my dearest and closest female friends. I’m convinced that God has given me the most amazing friends on the planet… which says much more about their goodness in putting up with me than my worthiness of their love.
I explained my situation to them and asked for prayer, encouragement and advice. The replies I received encouraged my heart and I could feel the prayers of my friends. I no longer felt alone in my struggle, which made a world of difference to the perceived size of my issue. I felt as though the rhinoceros that was in my back yard had miraculously turned into a goat (still something I need to deal with but not as insurmountable and now I have my friends to help me). One of my friends even threatened that she would take the next plane up here to be sure that I’m taking care of it and getting the help I need. She’s pure blood Texan. I have no doubt she would do it.
Many of my friends are far away. Since I work at a school there is a continual cycle of friendships every three years or so where I have to send off loved ones to faraway places. But there are a select few that have been my friends through thick and thin and, even if they were sent to evangelize Martians on a far away planet, they would not be far from my heart, nor me from theirs. It’s taken a while for me to realize what an incredible blessing these friendships truly are.
God did not create us to be lone rangers. A lone rider on a horse bearing his burdens into the sunset has a sort of romanticism that appeals to my introverted self but that fades quickly when trouble starts to stir. God said that it was “not good” for Adam to be alone. So He gave him a wife and then a family which grew into a clan and then a village, etc. God knew that man needed community. He himself has dwelt in perfect community within the three persons of the Trinity for eternity, except for the dreadful day when the Son became sin for us on the cross (1 Cor 5:21). Now, because of that dreadful day, we have been adopted into the family of God through Christ and we never have to be alone again.
We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We need each other. Our burdens are too heavy to carry on our own. We need help and are blessed to be able to help others. But we also need to express our joys! How fun to rejoice with someone else and to have someone rejoice with us! In this way, by weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice (Rom 12:15), we are not only being obedient to Scripture but we are putting on display the character of God for each other and for those around us.
So let’s be this kind of friend—love others well and cultivate those sweet friendships. Be grateful for the friendships you have, and tell your friends how grateful you are for them. And if you are struggling with something, find someone you respect in the faith, someone that you trust, and open up. Let someone help you with your burdens. They can’t help if they don’t know. Be vulnerable. It’s scary, but it’s worth it. God has not left us as orphans; we have Him and we have each other.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6:2