15 This you know, that all who are in Asia turned away from me; of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain, 17 but when he was in Rome, he sought me diligently, and found me 18 (the Lord grant to him to find the Lord’s mercy in that day); and in how many things he served at Ephesus, you know very well (1 Timothy 1:15-18, WEB).
This is a place in Scripture, which can comfort many of us. We all go through times, where friends can opt to leave us. And, it is a hard thing to experience. . . but this Scripture offers hope. The hope is found through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is our Provider.
While friendships do change over time, let’s choose to realize the Lord is able to give us people to “do life” alongside.
You might be going through a “friendship drought” right now. Hang in there, dear reader. Keep relying on the Lord and praying for Him to bring you friends who are choosing to follow Him – who can help you along your way. Dive deep into your friendship with the Lord Himself, and stay connected to your Church family – even when the relationships don’t seem to be there or anywhere. He is working.
How does this passage teach us about friendships?
1… Remember those who have chosen to stay, when everyone else has moved on.
2… Not only do we need to remember these friends, we need to pray for our friends.
3… Choose to be a friend who stays with others in the valleys of life. Choose to be a friend who stays and is there to help refresh others in the midst of their trials.
When facing our own trials, it can be difficult to be there for another who is going through their own storm. It is possible, but requires due diligence. The best way to “be there” is use technology to check on friends, ask how we can specifically pray for them, or send them an uplifting song we come across.
4… Take some time and search your own heart. How have you wrestled with feeling ashamed of someone or their trial? Paul was blessed with a friend who intimately knew our Lord Jesus – and wasn’t ashamed of his friend’s circumstances. Being unashamed helped Paul’s friend to be emotionally available.
5… Put effort into pursuing friendships. I am not talking about taking ourselves on a mission trip to contact everyone we have ever met. I am talking about practical ways to dive in a bit more to cultivate deeper friendships. This means choosing to focus on one or two friends, praying for them, and learning how to be more selfless (focused on them, versus dominating the conversation) – so we can be there for them.
Each of these things are designed to help our relationships. But something must happen first. We need to make our friendship with our Lord Jesus our top priority. Allow Him to refresh you, so He can give you all that is needed to be there for others.