This week I was a bit down. I had lost a little luster in my zest for life, passion for writing and purpose in my day-to-day grind. Have you been there? Those days, months or even years, where you can’t seem to find your way. Where you just can’t make sense of all the messiness that defines our imperfect lives on this earth. When the only words that can come out of your mouth, if any at all, are why? how? and when?
One thing I can’t do is offer a magic formula that lifts the head up and the knees off the ground. But I do know that God offers His Spirit—His Holy Spirit, to speak truth, peace and life to every moment of our days. And I do know, that God offers His precious children to be His hands and His feet to the world. Not just to those with starving bellies, but to those with starving souls. And aren’t we all there from time to time? The only way I was able to get up from being down was because a friend, a fellow lover of Jesus, reached down and picked me up. Through prayer, encouragement, fellowship, and friendship, I was held up, until I could stand up on my own.
The life and work of the apostle Paul is a perfect example of this truth. As Paul traveled and shared the message of Jesus, he was often beaten and imprisoned for his beliefs. In Acts 16, we find Paul and his partner in ministry, Silas, on their first visit through Philipi—quietly living out and sharing their faith when suddenly they are falsely accused of causing an uproar in the city:
They were stripped, beaten, thrown into the inner dungeon of the city prison, feet bound and hands chained.
Have you ever felt accused, beat down, humiliated, rejected, hurt, stripped, trapped, worn or afraid? Where do you turn in these times of weariness? After Paul and Silas experienced these same emotions, they chose to spend their evening in chains worshiping the Lord. Suddenly the earth quaked, the jail doors flew open, the chains were released, and the jailer was left trembling in fear. After witnessing a miracle of God, the jailer not only became a new believer but a friend to Paul and Silas. In the middle of the night, he cared for his new friends, nourishing their hunger and treating their wounds. He was helping to restore them to be able to complete their God-given mission.
“Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds…He brought them into his house and set a meal before them…” Acts 16: 33a, 34a
We desperately need one another to help nourish our hungry souls and wash our wounds. We need to be and have the type of friends who hold each other up; who fight on behalf of restoring the broken parts, so we can complete the mission God has for us. Whether that be in work, motherhood, or serving those in need, we all have a significant part to play. We need friends to be our rock, a safe place to be weary, a safe place to crawl till we can stand.
The very next day, despite the torture they endured, Paul and Silas were able to stand up and walk toward their next city, their next battle ground for Jesus—simply because a friend offered to be a part of their healing.
Dear God, may we be the type of friends who are not blinded by our own circumstances, but see the needs of others. May we be the type of friends who not only see, but help one another stand, walk and live out our life’s calling. May we be willing to be a part of the breaking of chains, the nourishing of souls, the washing of wounds no matter the inconvenience. May we not be too busy to offer our words, deeds, prayers and hopes to those with whom we have the great privilege of calling, friend.xo,
Worship: I love music and I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Enjoy! This is What You Do– Bethel Music
Gratitude: Give thanks— for the nourishers and the washers in your life. Really, go and tell them thank you! “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God… So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart…God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.” – Philipians 1:3, 7-8
Grow: Often it is difficult to praise God or reach out for help when we are struggling through this life. What do you learn from Paul and Silas’ example of thanking God despite their circumstances and accepting help from others? It is good to be known and have others we can rely on in times of need. Have you considered plugging into a church, small group or moms ministry to help build your community? What is holding you back and how can you trust God with that?
Give: Who in your life can you nourish and wash? How can you encourage one of the friends God has gifted you with today?
Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.
© Tamara Gurley 2014