Forget social networking! How many real friends do you have?
Sometimes it’s the fiery trials that reveal the real person. Anybody can handle life well when circumstances are going well and things are happening the way you want them to happen. But what happens when the circumstances you are facing are not going so well and the very thing you want to happen is not happening? How do you respond? What are you thinking during these difficult times? What do you do in response to these kinds of situations? We have to be honest and admit that times of trial and suffering not only reveal our true nature and character, but it can also help us grow to think and act like Jesus Christ, and as a result, God is glorified. Peter wrote these words in 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The big question today is: What do you do when your friend is facing trials & suffering?
Tell Them You Love Them
For you to tell your friend that you love them means a lot to a person. To let them know that you really care about them – enough to tell and to show them. Sometimes, a simply phrase like, “I love you my friend” can go a long way in building a relationship and in helping that friend make through the fiery trial they are facing.
I think sometimes we underestimate the power of our words. It’s not just what we say, but how we say it and when we say it. When you tell somebody you love them and care about them, don’t do it in a half-hearted manner. If that happens, your friend probably won’t believe you or will at least doubt the sincerity of what you just said – especially if the tone of your voice doesn’t really communicate the passion and sincerity of what you just said.
Timing is also an important element in telling someone you love them. When that friend is hurting in some way, or struggling with responding to a trial in a way that is pleasing to God (they probably don’t understand why a loving God would allow something like this to happen), your timing can make a huge difference. Tell your friend that you love them when you find out about the trial they are facing, but then call them back the next day, or the next couple of days, and tell them, “I love you my friend, and I really care about you.”
Tell Them You Are Praying for Them
What an encouragement it is to know what your friends are praying with you and praying for you. It’s not the act in and of itself that is encouraging, it’s the fact that you are talking to the God of the Heaven who is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Think about that wonderful privilege – to come boldly to the Throne of Grace that “we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
For your friend to know that you are praying for them can be a huge source of encouragement and comfort. And while you are telling them that you are praying for them, you can also pray with them right then while you are talking together. Don’t put it off – take a minute or two and pray for your friend while the two of you are talking to each other. Ask God to give them wisdom during this time of trial or suffering. Ask the Lord to let your friend see how God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). While God has a will, and it will be accomplished, He also tells us that we do not have because we do not ask (James 4:2).
Be With Them When They Need You the Most
When my father died in 1983, I had a friend that drove all the way from Greenville, SC, to Decatur, Alabama, where my dad’s funeral was being held. I was shocked when my friend walked in the door of the funeral home about 30 minutes before the funeral began. I told him I didn’t expect him to come, and I didn’t think he was able to come. He said to me, “Mark, people are important.” I’ve never forgotten that phrase, and my friend modeled that phrase with love, prayers, and being by my side when I needed him the most. When his mother died, I was there for him. When my mother died just a few months ago, he was there for me. When he called me on May 19th, and told me his dad just died, I made a decision – I’m going to be with my friend.
There are some things people will never forget, and one of them is when you were there with them, standing beside them, and helping them through the fiery trials of life. Be the kind of friend that Jesus is – love you friend, pray for your friend, and be there for your friend!