Hardships and Trials, Relationships

God’s Gift of Supportive Friends

Have you ever experienced a crisis that left you feeling vulnerable and wounded? Perhaps it felt like you were covered in sores and the gentlest breeze felt like a blast of fire, so you sought solace in isolation.

That was me this spring. My family experienced two major health issues—first my stepdad, then my daughter—that required an extraordinary amount of my time and mental and emotional energy. At first, I felt empowered, fully strong and capable, just knocking out what had to be done without pausing to think. But as hectic hours turned into days and then weeks, a new kind of exhaustion took over. Juggling work and family in tandem with the crisis was a blur I began navigating on autopilot.

In times of stress, I typically pull away from friends—not because I think they won’t understand or can’t help. Rather, it’s because as an introvert, I need to conserve my emotional energy for handling the problem at hand. I retreat within, go quiet and still, like a tiny island unto myself, until the crisis is resolved and I’m strong again. I confide in my husband, lean on him and the Lord, ask the Holy Spirit for strength, and avoid the rest of the world.

But this spring, as the weeks turned into months and my family’s issues continued, I began feeling worn out, beaten down, exhausted. The emotional weight I carried turned my steps into heavy plods.

One day a close friend called, and I decided to answer instead of letting the call go to voicemail. During our conversation, I relinquished my tight control and allowed some of my pain and stress to pour onto her. A day or two later, I chose to confide in another trusted friend, and then another. My proverbial load began to lighten.

Sometimes, relying on others helps us to get through a painful situation. It reminds me of Moses, who was deeply close to God. Click To TweetSometimes, relying on others helps us to get through a painful situation. It reminds me of Moses, who was deeply close to God. God gifted him with the ability to turn water into blood, his rod into a snake. Moses wasn’t mighty on his own. He could only do these things through God’s almighty power.

But there were also times Moses needed more. He needed help from his brother, Aaron, or he needed a God “pep talk” to get back on track. On one particular day, Moses and the Israelites were camped out at Rephidim, in the wilderness, and a fierce enemy sought them out and attacked them. Moses asked Joshua to get some men ready for the counterattack. He told Joshua he would stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands.

Now, Moses’s staff had done some powerful things because of the Lord. Indeed, a short time earlier when they’d first arrived at Rephidim and had no water, God had Moses strike a rock with the staff in full witness of some of the elders of Israel, and water gushed forth for the people to drink.

This was the very same staff Moses was now holding, on the top of the hill with his brother Aaron and their companion, Hur, beside him, while Joshua and his men fought the Amalekites.

God put His power into the staff and into Moses, holding that staff. And the staff did its job. We’re told in Exodus 17:11, “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning” (NIV).

But only Moses could hold the staff, and the battle wasn’t fast. Have you ever tried to hold your arms up a long time? They get tired! Therefore, Aaron, Moses, and Hur devised a plan: Whenever Moses’s hands faltered, they helped him sit down on a stone, and then Aaron grabbed one hand and Hur another, and they raised Moses’s hands up until sunset.

In that way, we’re told, “Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword” (Exodus 17:13).

Moses needed help from his friends to stay strong so they could get through this difficult situation. Without Aaron and Hur, his hands would have fallen, and the Amalekites would’ve won the battle.

Isn’t that how life works sometimes? There are times when we just can’t shoulder our burdens any longer. Sometimes we turn them over to God, and He carries them with and even for us. But in other seasons, God sends helper-friends to carry our burden. He sent Aaron and Hur to Moses, and during my crisis this spring, God sent some of my friends alongside me.There are times when we just can’t shoulder our burdens any longer. Sometimes we turn them over to God, and He carries them with and even for us. But in other seasons, God sends helper-friends to carry our burden. Click To Tweet

Whether it’s leaning on supportive friends or on God, the important thing here is to know we weren’t designed to handle everything on our own.

When a beaten and bloody Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, he had help from Simon from Cyrene (Luke 23:26).

When Paul wrote to the early church in Galatia, he encouraged the people to lean on each other, urging them to, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves” (Galatians 6:2-3).

We are not meant to go through life alone. Look around and consider: Are you going through a time of stress? Has God sent a special helper alongside you to be His hands and feet, or even His listening ear, in your time of difficulty?

Or are you supposed to be that helper-friend for someone else?

 

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4 thoughts on “God’s Gift of Supportive Friends”

  1. It’s the Church’s job. We’re supposed to walk with each other through our life journeys. Helping each other, encouraging each other along the way. Fabulous message!

  2. This is SOO good, Jessica! I was really struggling last night and remembered that Jesus had help carrying His cross. I love how God speaks to us and confirms what He’s teaching us. Thank you for this post. We really do need to lean on others when we’re going through a difficult time. Blessings to you always!

  3. Jessica, what a fabulous post! You hit all the right notes. I can SO relate to your time of needed quiet and rest and few interactions. This happens so often to me with my autoimmune disease weary body. I love this: “the important thing here is to know we weren’t designed to handle everything on our own.” No, we are not! We need Jesus, and we need one another! Your words are words of life for me! Thank you!

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