Seems like here lately friendships have been a major topic in our home. Trying to navigate this daily interaction with others, has suddenly gotten very complicated. If we would have received a notice, then we could have prepared a bit. With each child being made unique, the way they go about friendship and the place of importance it holds to them, really does vary. My normal go to ideas have not been working and I am seeing hearts in pain. Yes, I am thankful this is shaping them to look more like Christ, but I felt like we needed an action plan. I laid our hurts in front of the Lord in prayer and asked for help.
The help came in the book of Job. Not a very uplifting read, but you see God’s faithfulness and a man who knew this to be true. Job’s life was turned upside down and friends did not help his situation. They offered bad advice and the Lord points this out. “After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite; ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. Now take seven bulls and seven rams, go to my servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. Then my servant Job will pray for you. I will surely accept his prayer and not deal with you as your folly deserves.” (Job 42:7-8). Skip a few verses and we read, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored…” (Job 42:10).
What I saw here was the importance of praying for our friends. We might be Job or we might be like Eliphaz, but we need to pray for each other. It was after Job had prayed for his friends that he was restored and they were forgiven. I immediately made a list of my kids friends and began to pray for them. Some were easy and some were hard. But I know that, just like my children, their friends are “…fearfully and wonderfully made and your works are wonderful…” (Psalm 139:14). I cannot control anyone else’s response to my children, but I can pray for them and have eyes that see them like God made them. I will continue to pass this on to my children, but I will set an example too.
I will be honest, this is going to take practice. Daily I will go back to my list and pray for children that are not mine. We will also continue to ask the Lord if we have sinned against our friends. If we have, then we need to confess this to Him, repent and apologize. Again, we cannot control their response, but we will have done our part.
I love how the book of Job wraps up. “Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the forth generation. Then Job died, old and full of days.” (Job 42:16-17). May we all live days that are full and be able to say back to the Lord like Job, “I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5). May we see each other as “fearfully, wonderfully made” by God. We sometimes do not choose to act like it towards one another, but you know what? Tomorrow is a new day and we can be a better friend.
P.S. I just looked at Pinterest and I did not scroll down at all, but saw these words – “Nothing proves that you love someone more than mentioning them in your prayers.”