“The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult and we get lonely. Sometimes we may get discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to ‘keep going.’ “
By Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby from their devotional book, Experiencing God
When my husband and I were camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota, we took leisurely hikes each day through the canyons and gulches, enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife along the creek beds. One day we decided to follow a trail which lead upward to a beautiful vista. We had no idea what kind of hike we had chosen until we were a little ways up the trail. The sign said that we would travel up 1,000 feet in less than 3/4 mile.
Feeling a little blond, I paid no attention. 3/4 mile seemed like a short easy hike. No problem, right? Until we started to walk vertically.
I sat down for a breather to ease my huffing and puffing. Was all of this effort worth it? Maybe we should have just turned around and called it a day. We had seen plenty of beautiful sites already anyway.
There have been many times when I wanted to give up and it might be easy to do that if there weren't someone by my side, encouraging me to continue.
For me, this person has been my lifetime lover.
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I think Blackaby was talking about fellowship - true fellowship. Not pot lucks and Christmas teas, but friends who stop everything to pray for you. People who call and check up on your spiritual progress, brothers and sisters who ask you the hard questions.
I don't know about you, but that kind of fellowship has been hard for me to find. I've had a friend here or there who has encouraged me along the way, but often those friendships wax and wane. Other than Jesus, there's been one friend who has never left my side. My husband.
He listens to me whine about my constant struggles with the same issue over and over again. He sees Jesus in me (and points it out) when I think I'm just a miserable sinner. He builds me up with his words of encouragement on a daily basis.
He helps me up when I fall down and he's got the courage and the rapport to be able to tell me when I've really blown it. Together, we fight the battles of life side by side. We pray against Satan's attacks and we lift each other up.
Sometimes, our trail is an uphill climb, but when we are walking together, taking breaks together, cheering each other on, the hike becomes more manageable. And at the end, we get to enjoy the rewards of our labor together too!
Bonnie is our hostess today at Ink it Blog - go visit her to hear more thoughts on this topic.