The storms of life come in all shapes and sizes. If we are lucky, in this modern age, many storms creep up on the radar of the local meteorologist and we get friendly reminders via radio, TV and cell phone that it is time to prepare for an imminent storm. Other storms are like avalanches, they may give little or no warning and in the blink of an eye we are caught in a crisis. Storms are unpredictable, we have all watched the news stations scramble to report the perfect path of a hurricane or a thunderstorm. One minute it seems the storm is definitely headed in a certain direction and then it will swiftly change course, causing chaos and uncertainty for all of those who may or may not be in the path.
Life is full of storms, literal and figurative. Some” storms” are predictable like the decay and frailty of human life or the slow decay of human relationships. When the winds of grief blow fiercely and the waves of sorrow crash around us, at least we have had some time to prepare. So many instances bring what feels like gales of emotion, and we are pitched back and forth through anger, sadness, indecision, hopelessness, and any other emotion afforded to us by the English language. When the stress of life feels like a natural disaster, we can look to Jesus to provide calm in our situation and the gift he has given us in our friends!
“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
You may remember an old song from Sunday School, “With Jesus in your boat you can smile through the storm.” Well, historically speaking, Jesus was in the boat and the poor disciples were still beside themselves! The reality is that it takes a relationship with Jesus, and placing him at the helm of our lives that is going to keep us smiling in the storm. In this case, the boat was full of well meaning, grown men, all trembling with fear. This is where our friends become an important piece of our survival puzzle. We have an opportunity to choose wisely those who will walk through life with us.
As Christian women, we want to surround ourselves with women who will face the challenges of life head on, and when the moments feel the rockiest, we are looking for women who are firmly trusting in Jesus, quick to provide words of encouragement based on a steadfast trust in God’s power and goodness. Not only that, but that is the kind of friend we want to be! Our aim is to be the girlfriend who asks the very question of others, “Where is your faith?” Not in a scolding manner, but as a gentle yet meaningful reminder that our faith will sustain and we can walk alongside our sisters, ready to pick them back up when they lack the strength for themselves.
Not only that, but we have a tangible part to play in each other’s lives. Consider the story found in Luke 5:18-19.
“Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus.”
Find friends who will carry you all the way to Jesus! Many women are resourceful, they can see deals coming from miles away, sew magical things on their machines, bake the tastiest desserts out of 3 ingredients, but when times get tough will they find creative ways to remove any obstacle that separates you from your savior?
The storms of life often cloud our judgement. So often the fog of our brain is so dense and the mountain of our issue so high, that we cannot see even simple solutions and truth in front of us. We need the wisdom, ingenuity and compassion of our friends to insist that we share our burdens and make a path that leads to nothing short of Jesus! Sometimes, like the beautiful picture of persistence found in the Gospel of Luke, friends have to do a little grunt work- make plans, carry the load, cook the dish, drive the car, read the scripture aloud, intercede in prayer, whatever it takes.
Perhaps you know someone at this moment who is seemingly drowning. If you don’t, there is a good chance that if we are cultivating meaningful relationships in our life we will find out that someone is. If our lives are too busy we will not have the time to give to others when they need it. I pray that this will be a reminder of just how valuable your time is, to Jesus, your family and your friends- you can change people’s lives just by offering them a little of your time.
Perhaps, you reader, feel like you are drowning and “Jesus-pursuing” friends just haven’t been a priority in your life, there may be a void. Whatever you tell yourself about your inability to have friends, whether it’s feelings of worthlessness, too tight of a schedule, past friendship failures, the list is endless really. It’s a trap! Satan desires us to be isolated and to lack the resources we need to follow Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any lies that you believe that keep you isolated, pray that the Lord would open your eyes to the women in your life or where to find them. Pray that the Lord would give you strength to pursue Him and the life of community that He desires for you!
“Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence. Proverbs 27:9 (TPT).”