Yesterday, I was encouraged when a dear friend told me that he's been doing much better emotionally and spiritually in facing a new season of life -- essentially, he's been attempting to make the most of this season by going back to God through the comfort of His people and His word, and I know that he has been. It made me think of how wonderful it is to see great transformation happen in a loved one's life; how beautiful it is to know with confidence that, even before the transformation, you have been there beside them through ups and downs to see them finally reach this point of rejuvenation. I am not surprised to hear that he's actively reaching out to God again, because I've always known and trusted that it would happen -- after all, God always, always delivers His children and keeps them close. It seems the care and concern placed in my heart for this person over the years has been worth it.
This train of thought also fills me with gratitude for the friends who had faith in me that I'd "come back" even when I was drifting away. They still walked life with me when my lifestyle was completely messed up. Rather than abandon me, they encouraged me and ultimately pulled me right to the feet of Jesus. These are the friends that fully knew me and fully loved me. They fought for me. They lovingly confronted me. They encouraged me. They sacrificed for me. I think those kinds of friends are truly heaven-sent, and to be that kind of a friend will always be fulfilling. These are the friends we ought to treasure all the more. Such a reminder of the importance of living life alongside people who love you.
It all connected pretty well with the sermon from yesterday morning about the classic story of Jesus and the paralytic... And the paralytic's friends. (Matthew 9:1-8) Yes, there's power in having individual faith in God, but there's also power in the faith of our friends towards us. Just like mine, the friends of the paralytic didn't abandon him as an outcast, but instead they brought him right to the feet of Jesus (well, they did this literally) because they believed in Him. God saw their hearts and it was because of their faith that the paralyzed friend was healed. He healed not to prove his ability to do miracles, but used that miracle to prove who He is, that He has the authority and power to heal even the spiritual wounds left by sin.
Then the faith of the paraplegic AND his friends grew all the more because they knew Jesus more. I can't imagine how powerful it must have been for those friends to see their loved one walking again, but maybe it's similar in seeing my friend running to Jesus again.
Because in the same way, I'm encouraged to see the faith of my friend be refreshed and rejuvenated, even if it's little by little. I now know Him a little better because I see a clearer view of His faithfulness in how He never let go of my friend. My faith grows when any of my loved ones' faith does. I recognize the power in friends believing in each other through His strength. May He keep inspiring me through the lives of my own loved ones. I trust that there are other important people in my life that God has never let go of, and they will someday return refreshed and rejuvenated, as well. I truly hope so.