The Value of Showing Up for a Friend - Encouragement for Today - July 20, 2015

Natalie Snapp

JULY 20, 2015

The Value of Showing Up for a Friend
Natalie Chambers Snapp

"When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words." Job 2:12-13 (NLT)

"I just needed her, that’s all," she said with tears streaming down her face. "She didn’t have to do anything or say anything — I just wanted her to sit with me for a while."

My new friend described the pain of a missing friend, someone she loved, but who was nowhere to be found when her own life fell apart. She was having trouble forgiving her friend for what felt like abandonment.

My friend was not alone in needing her friend. A man named Job, whose story is recorded in the Bible, also needed his friends in the midst of deep heartache.

Job lost most of his family and earthly possessions. When three of his friends heard the news, they went to offer comfort, support and encouragement simply by showing up. Scripture tells us (as we see in our key verse) they sat with him for seven days and nights and didn’t say a word. Can you imagine?

They showed up and were present at a time when Job felt beaten down and alone.

So often, I’m afraid to show up when I know someone is hurting because I worry too much about the "what ifs." What if I say something insensitive? What if their pain triggers something in me? What if it will require more time and energy than I want to give? Ugly, but true, concerns.

We live in a busy and fast culture of appointments, family activities and other obligations that can dictate our time and energy if we allow.

Running at full speed keeps us from slowing down enough to walk with the hurting. We live a distracted, but less compassionate, life when we have so much going on that we fail to see the needs around us — and I know I’m guilty.

When we close the door on distractions, we open the door to hearing from God because if we’re constantly plugged-in, it becomes harder to unplug.

And it’s true we can utter words that will come off as insensitive but it’s what we do after we say those insensitive words that matters most. A heartfelt apology goes a long way. So does a simple "I don’t know the right words to say, but I’m here for you."

After seven days, Job broke the silence by lamenting to his friends and wondering why such pain was happening in his life. Yet sadly, all three of his friends followed with thoughts that were less than encouraging.

However, later in Job 32, his friend Elihu stepped in and spoke truth. He lovingly pointed out that Job was not without sin but these trials were not happening because of his sin. Then, he spoke soft truth and reminded them all that "God is greater than any human being" (Job 33:12b, NLT).

Friends speak soft truth — even when the truth is hard. They also show up, stay in the game and offer love for those who are hurting.

In other words, their presence is the present — a gift that will always be remembered by a hurting friend.

Father, may I not be intimidated by the mistakes I could possibly make with a hurting friend and instead just be present for her. Help me to make time to just be there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Proverbs 17:17, "A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need." (NLT)

Ever had a "friend break-up," struggled to forgive after being hurt by women or merely wished to learn how to be the best friend you can be? Pick up a copy of Heart Sisters: Be The Friend You Want To Have by Natalie Chambers Snapp today!

If the thought of conflict makes you break into a cold sweat or you simply want to know how to biblically walk through conflict, you’re invited to join the "Five Days of Crawling Through Conflict With A Friend" Challenge. Click here for more information and to register!

Enter to WIN a copy of Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have. In celebration of her book, Natalie’s publisher is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 10 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, July 27.}

Do you have a friend who is currently hurting? What soft truth of encouragement could you offer her today? Drop her a note, send her a text or give her a call — then program a reminder in your phone or write it on your planner to do it again in a few days! Better yet, can you spend some time with her this week?

Add your friend to your prayer list and commit to praying for her daily — and tell her you’re praying. Nothing speaks more love to a hurting person than a friend who is consistently praying for her!

© 2015 by Natalie Chambers Snapp. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Abingdon Press for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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