Have you ever felt like posting a sign that read – Needed: a friend, but you were too scared because of the thought that no one would respond favorably? It takes a lot of courage to admit where you are on this journey. Certainly, there are seasons of life when you just feel you’ve been abandoned, whether it is the result of health issues, a move from one state to another, or simply changing jobs. So, leaving the pastorate and serving as “the pastor’s wife” for over 25 years, brought a rather stark reality; you are no longer who you once were. Not knowing where you belong is one of the hardest places to be. Who can you identify with? And even still, who will throw down the gauntlet and say, “I will be your friend no matter what!”?
2012 became that year of transition and frustration, not to mention the feelings like God just doesn’t see me or care about me. So I wrestled through passages of Scripture while asking myself: Will I take the Bible at its Word? Or will I sink into despair and bitterness? Praying through and trusting in the written Words of God are the answer for surviving the dark and gloomy seasons of life. Isaiah 43 was written to Israel, God’s chosen people, but definitely applies to all believers.
“. . . Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; . . . For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; . . . Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, . . . Do not fear, for I am with you; . . . Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made. . .. ‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.”
And no matter how long we wait, trusting and hoping for the Lord to answer our prayer, we can be assured He is watching and perfecting all that concerns us (Psalm 138:8).
Not long ago, the Lord blessed me with a new friend! Knowing I hate to drive, let alone in pouring rain and delivering my mom to the airport, the Lord gave me the gift of an angel who offered to drive! I can never repay my new friend for listening in on my conversation in our new member’s class at Church, and promptly offering up her portable sewing machine to use during my mom’s visit. Only God!!
Then again, He blessed me with a beautiful reminder of how friendships are sown, no matter how insignificant the output, a work of the Lord when we are serving Him. Working in the CCBS library, for a couple of years, I met Melinda. Melinda says I was her first friend on campus! *Tears*
Another of my “many” friendship blessings is Ms. Ruby! Ms. Ruby is 85 years young! God has used her in mine and Rodney’s lives for several years now as Rodney has taught at Carolina College of Biblical Studies and she has been one of his students. Our paths would cross from time to time when I was taking classes as well. Ms. Ruby never misses an opportunity to give Rodney gifts as her instructor. But she never gives just to him, she always includes me! While I was recuperating from my back issues, she was sending me cards reminding me of her prayers. Recently she even gave us a housewarming gift. I rarely saw Ms. Ruby, but she has faithfully shined as a caring friend.
I’m learning to look for God’s blessings and gifts where I normally would be missing all He is doing!
God wants us to know and believe Him! So Trust Him and never lean on your understanding of a situation (Proverbs 3:5).