Today I received a message from a friend that I have had since we were 12. She had seen a post of my 6th grade class picture another friend of hers had posted and forwarded it with the subject line ‘A Blast from the Past’. What a treat to see those familiar faces and to read the attached comments of those I knew back when.
Job’s friend, Zophar, did not understand the real reason that Job was suffering so he gave him bad advice. But he did say something interesting about memory, the passage of time, and being right with God in Job 11:16-18
You will forget your misery;
you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
its darkness will be like the morning.
And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
you will look around and take your rest in security.
God has blessed me with a brain that is capable of remembering. Memories of people that I have known, that have meant something to me, memories that make me smile and some that even make me cry. Do I give thanks enough to God for that?
Imagine the scene… A van pulls up at hotel. One woman jumps out of the vehicle screaming a name. The woman being called likewise yells out a name and runs forward. The women meet halfway and embrace with enthusiastic hugs and greetings, and plans to meet up later.
It is obvious that these two women have an intimate relationship … They are family, or perhaps best friends.
On checking in, the hotel clerk mentioned the closeness between the two women.
“You met your family here?”
“We’re not related.”
“Oh. How long have you known each other?”
“You get to spend lots of time together then?”
“No. Just a matter of days during two events.”
“You must talk lots on the phone?”
“Phone. Have we ever…? I see some of what is going on in her life on Facebook, and the same for her with my life… When we bother to post.”
“You two appear to be the best of friends. … How do you know if you even like each other?”
“Well, we did chat over dinner once, and another conversation or two while driving somewhere… We have a couple things in common….”
“But… I don’t get it… Why are you two so close?”
“Oh, that’s easy. We are sisters in Christ. We have the same goals – getting our family, friends and acquaintances into heaven. We want the best for each other. We will pray for each other, even without being asked. Whether it is a message on Facebook, a text message or a real phone call, we are there for the other even if it cannot be physically. She knows I love her, and I know she loves me because we have that bond through Christ our Lord. She encourages me and I encourage her. Like Paul in Philippians 1:3-5 I can thank God for the work in the kingdom she does, and for the prayers she offers up on my behalf for the work I am trying to accomplish. I know that I will always be welcomed by her because we are sisters in Christ.”
But exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called today; lest
any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: Heb 3:13
Sometimes the thing that really encourages someone is just taking her out for a cup of coffee or by giving her a quick call. Showing her that you want to know her better, to spend time with her, can give her the feeling that she is worthwhile to know. And since God made her and Jesus died for her, she does have value.
What is truly even more of an encouragement is inviting her into your home for a Bible study. The fact that you cared enough to welcome her into your home says a lot to her about the value you place on her soul. And you in turn are encouraged as you watch her learn and grow closer to our Savior.