URBULENT” BEST DESCRIBES THE RECENT MONTHS IN THE LIFE OF A woman I know. Not the slight bumpy tremors that barely tug at our consciousness; but rather, she has held on, white-knuckled, to anything that spoke “security” as circumstances unforeseen flung her first one way, then hurled her another. She was baffled as to why the Lord was allowing these things to happen, but still, through even the worst times, her faith held firm to her belief that He had a plan and would ultimately bring her through the difficult experience.
One of the happenings on the sidelines that captivated my attention was the reaction of her friends and others close to her as she tried to navigate the hurdles and make practical decisions. She has wonderful friends, I often noted—people who consistently provided spiritual, emotional, and practical support. But the response of others was not as admirable.
I watched people back away, not wanting to be involved in her life when things weren’t running smoothly. “She brought this on herself,” one said. “I can’t support the decisions she’s made,” another argued. Surprised, I couldn’t help comparing the one group of people with the other.
Merriam-Webster defines friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem,” but the term, I believe, denotes something even deeper. It means being there for someone even if they’ve messed up, if they’re wrong, when they’re at their worst. Otherwise, in what way would a friend be any different from an acquaintance, or anyone else? We can’t always support what a friend does, but we can always let them know we care for them, no matter what.
If our Friend and Savior Jesus Christ loved us only on our “good” days, what hope would we have? Instead, He loves us not only when we’re at our best—but at our worst. Can we do anything less for others?
Sandra Blackmer is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review. (Published October, 8, 2009)