I've had plenty of opportunity to practice what I've been preaching this week. It seems that Satan has taken my first blog posts of the week as a personal challenge. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to rank yesterday as about a 0. If it could go wrong yesterday, it did. I was in tears by the end of the day.
I woke up to the wonderful present of dog puke on my family room floor -- and it wasn't even my dog. We're dog-sitting this week, and our visitng dog -- a beautiful and well-behaved golden retriever named Bunny -- ate our dog's food. Not an issue normally, but she's allergic to his food, so she threw it up.
While dealing with the dog puke, my oldest daughter got up. She had pink eyes with bags under them and had been up half the night because her ears hurt. She had already missed one day of school this week and been to the doctor, but it was pretty clear she would be staying home and we would be going to the doctor. This would normally not be a problem because I work from home. But, yesterday, I was supposed to teach Bible study in the morning and go into the office to work in the afternoon.
After her doctor's visit where we came home with eye drops and antibiotics, my wonderful mom volunteered to watch my oldest so I could go to work. There were a few other extremely trying moments in my morning that I promised my oldest I would not share in a public forum. Suffice it to say that by the time I went to work, I was feeling a bit like Job. I was afraid to even ask what could happen next for fear we'd end up in the emergency room.
Clearly, the things that I'd shared on this blog this week were hitting home and turning someone toward God. And just as clearly, Satan was working overtime in my life to make me throw up my hands and quit. You see, just like with Job, Satan wants us to be ineffective in our faith. When Satan asked to test Job, he asked "“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11)
God didn't stretch out His hand and strike everything Job had, but He did allow Satan to test Job. Some of the things Job went through were horrific. He lost his family. He became ill. He lost his wealth. Satan's main goal for Job was the same goal he has for us -- if he can't make us turn away from God, then he wants us to be so busy questioning God and putting out fires that we don't want to turn to God for comfort.
I'll be honest, several times yesterday, I thought about what I had written this week and thought "Why did I do that?" It seems no matter what I write about, I quickly find an opportunity to practice it in my own life. Yesterday, I was struggling to find the feathers of faithfulness that I had written about early in the morning.
Yet, I had something that Job didn't have -- good friends who believe mightily in God's faithfulness. Job's friends told him to curse God and be done with it. Job not only had to fight his own doubts and frustrations to trust in God's faithfulness, he had to fight against his friends really bad advice.
When things continued to go badly after I got off from work last night, I called a good friend of mine. She listened to my frustrations, commiserated mightily and promised to pray. After I finally got the girls to bed, my next door neighbor and I went for a walk. Despite the late hour, she was willing to walk the neighborhood with me and the dogs, listen to my pathetic story and offer encouragement and laughter. I came home feeling better about my life and like I might be able to tackle another day tomorrow.
Without those two girls, I probably would have curled up in my bed and cried myself to sleep last night. As it turned out, I even managed to have a halfway decent conversation with my husband before we went to bed.
Because, sometimes, even for adults, God's faithfulness is hard to find. Some days, it's all you can do to survive, and you simply need someone else to remind you of God's promises. You need someone to be the arms of God, to offer you a tangible reminder. That's where our friends come in. God provides us with friends because He knows this life is too hard to do it by yourself.
Proverbs 27:10 says "Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away." Friends matter, and they make our lives a better place in the midst of a disastrous day. They become the tangible hands and feet of Jesus to remind us of God's presence in our lives when we can't seem to find it.
I'm thankful for those friends in my life, and I hope you'll take a minute and thank Him for those people you call friends in your life, too.