Ever have one of those weeks when encouragement comes splashing in like a tidal wave?
Unexpected…unasked for and more needed than you care to admit?
Sometimes so sweet and so profound that your tears cry beholden?
That’s my last week.
The icing on the cake came Sunday afternoon in the form of an email from a long time friend.
Cheri’s been my friend for more than 20 years…a faithful, trustworthy friend…
Three years ago she agreed to meet me at our favorite little restaurant in Pittsburg, Kansas, called Sweet Greens…which is now out of business. 🙁
I spilled my guts out to Cheri in one big blubbery mess over a mess I had made.
I hurt to have to tell her.
She would just never do what I did…she’s one of those ones who learns from example.
I admire her for that.
It’s not that she hadn’t shared her hurts and struggles over the years… they just looked different than mine.
Whenever Cheri and I have gotten together, it’s been safe and sweet and transforming.
Her eyes penetrate of Jesus. Such love, such acceptance…and always full of truth.
When Cheri’s email came on Sunday afternoon, I lay in bed and sobbed.
I had not thought about the conversation we had that day at our favorite restaurant for several years.
For some reason, God wanted her to remind me.
Here is Cheri’s post:
For This Reason
“For this reason, also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you . . . ” Colossians 1:9
My friend fell . . . She sat across the table from me, tears flooding her face.
Sorry was written all over her. Her heart writhing with pain. She had fallen into the sin of adultery.
She poured truth of the fall, her repentance obvious, sorrow spilling. My heart was sorry, too. Sorry for what she had done, but more sorry for what I had not. I felt as if I had failed her in the worst way you can fail a sister in Christ. I had not been diligently praying for her.
I repented. I told her that I was sorry. “I knew you were on the front lines,” I said.
“I knew you needed prayer. Will you please forgive me for neglecting to faithfully intercede for you?”
I felt such love and compassion for my sweet friend. I wanted to embrace her. To protect her from the judgment that I knew would come . . . had already begun.
I had been memorizing the book of Colossians. Paul told the people of Colosse that he had heard really good things about them. Epaphras had been with them and witnessed a powerful, fruitful body of believers. Epaphras described them to Paul as those “who declared to us your love in the Spirit.”
Then Paul says the most interesting thing. “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy . . . ” Paul wasn’t praying for these people because they were sick, or sinful, or lethargic. He was praying for them because they were filled with the Holy Spirit and it was evident because of their great love for the body of Christ. They were right on track, lined up, wholeheartedly serving. And Paul told them, “We never cease to pray for you!”
These verses describe my friend. She wholeheartedly loves the Lord. She is a visionary who creatively puts her vision into action. She was right on target, on purpose, face set toward the prize when she fell. Where was I?
I believe these verses demonstrate to us that we have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters . . . all of them. Pray diligently for those who squander their time and energy and for those who have lost their way. But do not forget to pray for those who are doing well, those on the front lines. They need our prayers. The enemy loves to take out the king pin.
Do you have someone in your life who needs you to be on their knees for them right now? Please excuse me, I think I do.
Please let me close by saying that when Cheri apologized for not praying diligently for me that day, I did not sit back and say….”Sooooo, that’s why I chose to be so stupid and hurt myself and many others…you weren’t praying for me!”
No, rather I looked at her dazed and confused. I saw the tears well up in her eyes…I didn’t understand. I could barely take it in…I knew she wasn’t saying my fall was her fault. I know her better than that…
What I heard were words that come from uncommon friendships…merciful, mighty and eternal.
I’ve been blessed with several of those kinds of friendships and I truly hope you have too.
We all need them.