Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
To walk forward and live life to the fullest we need to cut down the weeds around our ankles. Someone criticized you and dandelions started popping up around you. Someone said bad things about you to one of your friends and thorny leaves begin to collect on your socks and pants. Then you said something that you didn’t mean to and hurt someone else, and you watched as weeds began to grow between their toes and ankles. You wish you hadn’t said what hurt your friend, and like the long arms of an octopus, you find yourself being pulled down beneath the sea. Did you know that the stress and regrets we hold inside today can prevent us from enjoying the future God has for us tomorrow? The moment weeds begin to take hold of your ankles, drop to your knees and ask God for his forgiveness and for help to free yourself from what trips you up. And my friend, he will do it.
Isaiah 35:3 - Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way.
Life can be hard especially for those who are suffering from a chronic health condition. But with a little effort from those who are healthy, we will leave no one behind. We can be the ones to strengthen the feeble and unsteady, and lift the burden off another soul. We have tools in our toolbox that we can use such as a wrench in the form of a phone call to check in on a friend, a screwdriver in the form of a card to encourage your friend to keep going, a hammer in the form of a DVD taken to a friend in pain to help them forget their sorrows, a saw in the form of offering to babysit a friend’s kids so they can take a nap or a handful of nails in the form of stopping by to visit with your friend who just needs someone to be there and listen. God can point us in the right direction, with the right tool to lift the burden of a housebound individual.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We’ve all watched movies where the hero is blindfolded, thrown into the trunk of a car, driven out into the middle of the wilderness and dumped on the side of the road. Alone. Left to die. No hope in sight. No one knows where you are. How will you ever be able to break free and find your way home? Life can feel like we are that hero dumped on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. We don’t know where we are anymore. The rules have changed. We’re alone. We feel abandoned. What do we do now? Some people simply close in on themselves and curl up in a ball and don’t even try to escape. It’s easier that way than trying to muster up the courage to tell someone we feel abandoned. But is it easier that way? I don’t think so. It’s only in reaching out that we can find hope again. Yes, we are risking being turned down and still feel abandoned, but you may find someone who really cares if you reach out. God, also, will never abandon you. He knows you’re in the trunk of that car and can lift you up and place you in the midst of people who really do care.
Psalm 41:9 - Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
Life is hard. It whispers thoughts of inadequacy. It shows you dark places you don’t want to walk in. It reveals what’s in the heart. It leaves you in a pile of broken pieces at your feet. You see, just as you think life is done hurting you, the most painful thing of all happens – Your loved one hates you. This pain can be even more deeply felt than when you lose a loved one in death. That statement is going to make some people angry with me, but when you stand in the face of spoiled fruit ready to turn into rancid words and actions; you’ll know what I mean. And, while all the time you don’t have a clue of what you’ve done to make your loved one hate you. Is there anything we can do to stop our loved one from hating us? Aren’t our tears enough? Aren’t our efforts to make amends enough? Where did we go so wrong? We must take the high road and not turn on them and throw insults their way. It is God we can depend on. God can be our comfort. He is our ultimate loved one and will never speak unkindly about us or become our enemy. Trust that love and maybe someday, you’ll find your loved one walking towards you with open arms.
Proverbs 18:24 - One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Friendship grows in a natural course. Recently you met someone and you wonder if they could be your new best friend. But, inevitably you disagree with your new friend about a subject. You brush it aside feeling that everyone has disagreements. But it doesn’t stop. You try to see both sides of the situation but no matter what you say; the relationship falls apart. It’s sad to lose someone who you thought you were getting close to. But each of us is capable of picking up an offense and running with it. So now what? Sometimes the “what” becomes standing aloof and keeping conversations short. Your heart is hurting, so you close the door for anyone to be close to you again. That’s not how life was meant to be lived. We are social people and naturally crave to be with others. But how do we move beyond lost friendships and open up our hearts again? Only in God’s strength and wisdom. He knows how long a friendship will last. Some are meant to last a lifetime, but some just don’t work out. Try not to dwell on that. Try to remember that even if you lose a friend, you still can pour your life into another’s and find that new best friend.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.