“IN SICKNESS AND HEALTH” — Lent, Day 14

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Working in the health care field has its ups and downs (as every job does!), but one thing I have been able to witness multiple times are the patients who are in long-term relationships or marriages that come onto our floor as patients.

First, there was a tiny old woman years ago who stuck with me after all this time.  Her husband was admitted for some medical care and she came up to me at the desk and said with a shaky voice, “My husband is staying here overnight and I don’t know what to do…”

“What is the matter?  Does he need anything in his room?”,  I asked.

“No, no, he’s wonderful, but we’ve never been apart.  We’ve been married for forty years and we’ve never spent an evening apart. What will I do without him?”

I didn’t have an answer that would satisfy, simply said, “He will be well taken care of here”.  Inwardly I was struck by how lost she was without her husband.

Then we have patients who aren’t given a good prognosis.  They will spend the last days of their life in our care.  Many times we have spouses who camp out in the room of the patient.   We find them a cot to sleep on and they spend every waking minute with their loved one.  This, of course, isn’t restricted to husband and wife.  I will never forget a daughter who spent weeks on our unit, not wanting to leave her mother to die alone.

Even though we see the worst of patients and we are often saddened by their prognosis or mistakes they have made that bring them to this point in health, the fact is — loyalty is underrated and becomes very apparent when people are in need.

It’s very easy to be there for each other when things are going splendidly;  it doesn’t take much from us to stick around during the high times.  The reality hits when we are going through something, when physical, emotional or mental. The quality of love we have for each other, our loyalty is an important virtue.

We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.
G.K. Chesterson

In the Bible one of the greatest displays of loyalty is in the friendship between David and Jonathan.  (You can read more about that friendship here: https://rcg.org/youth/articles/1004-jad.html).  Even though Jonathan was charged by his father to find (and kill) David, Jonathan remained loyal to David to the end of his days.

Sometimes we can relegate loyalty to the back burner to avoid confrontation.  If someone is mistreating our spouse or friends, loyalty can be viewed negatively as it may require taking a stand.  However, when we fight for the people we care about, we show them how much they mean to us.

Never underestimate the power of loyalty in relationships.
After all, through our good and bad times, God always remains loyal to us.

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, show me how to be loyal to my friends and family.  If they need my help, give me strength and wisdom in navigating difficult situations.  When my partner needs my support, help me to be aware of it and to stand by them.  AMEN. 

“FRIENDSHIP” — Lent, Day 11&12

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Life is a series of unending lessons. One of the greater (and more painful) ones to learn is: surround yourself with people who will lift you up.

Friendships can be difficult. It’s simple enough to become friends with someone in a light-hearted and “easy” way. However, when you go through difficulties in life, when you make a mistake, the strength of your friendship will be put to a test and then the true worth it will come to light.

Will your friends remain after you hurt their feelings? Will they forgive you and choose to love you despite your failings? Or will they move on because the friendship doesn’t matter enough to them?

Do your friends encourage you to be a better person? Do they call you out on your mistakes with love?

Alternatively, are you there for your friends when they need you? Do you ask for forgiveness when you’ve made a mistake or hurt them?

Even though marriage is a sacred relationship with vows made before God, the Bible has surprisingly some very strong descriptions of what comprises a friendship.

In Proverbs, we find honest truths about the characters we surround ourselves with:

Some friendships do not last, but some friends are more loyal than brothers. (18:24)

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (13:20)

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. (22:24-25)

The apostle John goes even further to define true love (and friendship!) as this:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (15:13)
The fact is, we are deeply influenced by those around us. Who we spend time with affects us. We mimic the ones who have a profound influence on us and we ourselves must be aware that we may sway our friends as well.

So we know how important friendships are–what now?
Is it time for you evaluate the friends around you?
Is the loss of a friendship, though painful at first, perhaps a gift?

If that dear friend of yours hurts you–remember that none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. We have a chance to edify and to lift each other us up instead of engaging in gossip or negativity. (Believe me, this was a painful lesson for me to learn!)

Believe the best about people. Pray for their short comings. You are not the standard. We all need grace.
Lecrae

DAILY PRAYER: LORD, teach me how to be a friend who can be relied upon and trusted. If I am lonely, bring me to the friendship where both of us can challenged and encouraged. Remind me that we all need grace. Amen.