Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But, if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me when you’re not strong
I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on ~ Michael Bolton
Have you ever had a deep longing for good friendships, a moment where someone would be present for you? Moments in which all you long for is a chance to be listened to and to be cared for, and loved?
In this Covid-19 season, there are many, I sense, who desire such genuine moments. We must admit that this unprecedented season for our generation is quite difficult for many. There are those who have lost their loved ones and it has been hard to reach out to them physically and offer comfort, due to the government restraints on physical distancing.
Others have lost jobs and the fact that many economies have been hit hard barely gives these people any glimpse of hope for them to get something meaningful to do. There are those amongst us who have fallen ill. Hospital visits to loved ones have become rare, visits that would demonstrate love for the ailing one, and offer encouragement. These are now limited to very close members of the family.
Look at the families that have been separated, they worry and wonder when they will get to see each other again. Children haven’t been spared either. They have had their worlds cut off and are not able to interact with their friends and engage in normal school activities.
This is a difficult season. It is a challenging period.
Recently, I had to deal with the news of the illness of someone very close to me. At first, the issue was to ensure that she was attended to by a good doctor at the earliest opportunity. There was a need to care for this loved one. Naturally, we couldn’t wake up and share such news with many people. However, the matter really weighed heavily in my heart.
I needed a friend.
Understandably, enjoying a hug from a close friend or literally having a shoulder to cry on when in need is not possible for many of us at the moment. Maintaining friendships has been hard as everyone is on survival mode, trying their best to balance work and family or other responsibilities. This has preoccupied many. Therefore, if one is going through a hard phase in their lives, it may seem easier to opt not to share one’s issues to avoid burdening others who are already going through a lot.
Reaching out to a few friends to stand with us about our ailing loved one has been a breath of fresh air. Sharing this with friends who are willing to be present and stand with us in prayer has helped in a big way. It feels good to know that one is not alone.
A burden shared is a burden halved. Two are better than one.
I have been praying for good solid friendships in this season. The danger of being viewed as a strong woman who can manage her life and whose social capital is good is that people assume you are fine. After all, you have many friends. Truth is you may find that you only have but a handful of close friends, and for some none at all. Hence my prayer for friendships this year.
Along the way, I have had to ask myself what kind of friend I am to those who are around me. Am I a friend that counts? Am I present in my friends’ lives? It is possible to lament that people are not present for you, but what kind of friend are you?
Here are a few things you can do this season to become a better friend:
- Care. Call up a friend. Don’t make assumptions that people are fine. You never know what could be on the other side of that call.
- Pray. There are many in need who need our prayers. It is very easy to say ‘I will be praying for you’ but please do pray. If you think you’ll forget to pray, write down the request so that you are able to pray at a later time.
- Give. I know our financial resources are quite stretched during this season. Consider those around you who are in need. Share what you have. The Bible gives us two examples of widows who gave what they had:-
- The widow who was visited by Elijah at a time when there was famine, she was preparing her last meal for her and her son so that they may eat and die. Elijah told her that her containers would be full of oil and flour until the rains came and crops grew.
- The second widow was observed by Jesus giving her two pennies and a few cents. Jesus said, ‘They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’ Mark 12.44. The point here is to give sacrificially from what you have.
- Love. God commands us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We have a chance to share God’s love with our friends, allowing them to know that God can use others to reach out to them.
A good friendship is powerful. I pray that you will be a good friend to someone today. And if you need a friend, I pray that God sends someone your way today. We can use technology positively to strengthen our friendships in this season. But most importantly, God is the Friend we need as His love is constant and He never fails.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17.17
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18.24
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer; Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear; All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.
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