Uplifting a Friend Who is Lonely or Hurting (Proverbs 18:24)
Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Loneliness is a big obstacle to perseverance. Sometimes you can even feel isolated in a crowd. Whatever is going on in your heart and life today, understand everybody goes through loneliness at some point in life—even the apostle Paul. Paul was experiencing loneliness. “Who really understands me? How many people do I know that have really walked the road that I'm walking?” In II Timothy 4, Paul is nearing the end of his life. Paul is wrapping up his second letter to Timothy, he writes in II Timothy 4:9, “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me.” Now that is a pretty vulnerable request. In a manner of words Paul said, “Son, I don’t mind telling you that I need you ASAP!” (I Timothy 1:2; II Timothy 1:2).
Sufferers often struggle with feeling isolated and alone. One of their biggest needs is to have people reach out and pursue a relationship with them. If you are a Christian who has faced suffering in your life then you have probably encountered a fellow Christian who wanted to provide comfort and help to you. Communicating with people going through a difficult time can mean a lot. It really makes difference to a hurting friend, or fellow Christian, knowing that we are thinking of and praying for them. Even if it’s just a few brief words of encouragement expressing your love and prayer support. And, of course, you could stop by their home, or hospital room, to visit and pray with them.
Human friendships are part of God’s gift to us. As we live in the reality of these truths, and thus, grow in faith and trust each day that we suffer we begin to recognize some of the ways God shows His compassion for us. We begin to appreciate His compassion in giving us family and friends as well as the beauty and comfort of His nature; the blessings we so often take for granted. We begin to notice and recognize His compassions: unexpected help from a stranger, an encouraging note, a faithful pet curled up at our feet or in our lap, or a biography of a Christian who has gone through suffering. We begin to thank our Heavenly Father for an amplified awareness and a greater appreciation of His loving kindness. We begin to realize that "all things" really does mean all things. And even when we feel that our various needs for comfort and encouragement are not being met as we would like, in any and all disappointing and hurting situations we can take hope in the midst of our hurts because we know that God is faithful in His commitment to our welfare--today and forever.
Finally, we have all the Biblical promises of an eternal future with our Lord in Heaven. This life is only a brief moment compared to eternity. The hurts of today will soon be gone forever. For the Christian, there is surely hope in the midst of hurt!
Prayer: Father, we thank You that You came to us in the person of your Son, Jesus Christ. You did not forget us and You did not leave us alone. We bless You for remembering us in our misery and coming to save us through Christ the Lord. You clothed Your Son with human flesh so that He might be our Saviour. Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.