Helping a friend in time of need

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Everyone goes through difficult times at some point in life. Those who notice a friend going through a tough spot and reach out to help are good friends. 

Acquaintances may rub shoulders with you day in and day out. Other friends see you. They check on you. Some supernaturally perceive your tough time and reach out. 

It is always up to you to receive the help or not. 

I've been the friend receiving and giving the help.

Receiving help when you are going through a tough spot can be humbling. I remember going out to what I thought was a casual coffee conversation. I came to find out that God touched my friend's heart to check on me and encourage me. The encouragement I needed came in the form of tough love. There I was, feeling super sorry for myself. My friend listened to me. She gave me the firm affirmation I needed from God. I forgot who I was in Christ. I forgot I had real help in the form of real people. I never forgot that conversation. I permanently changed the way I looked at the trial I encountered. God is indeed greater. He saw me and He cared for me in the form of a friend. It took humility to both open up and accept help. 

God alerts me of friends and people in need in various ways. So varied are his nudges that I decided to live in a position of alertness to his call. The other day, I was making a business phone call. The person on the other side of the line was struggling. When I heard "pray for me" I did it in the name of Jesus. This week, I met that person for the first time. The person was grateful for the prayer. I was even more grateful to see that God heard and answered. I'm glad I was paying attention to the Spirit's move that day. 

God alerts me to check on friends through my thoughts. The person will simply appear in my thoughts. I've learned to immediately pray. I also learned to let the person know I prayed for them. I often tell them about what type of prayer I prayed. Some tell me "Thank you" and life goes on. Others give me quick updates on their lives. Either way, my goal is to obey God and be a blessing to His children. 

I try to keep a lot of these interactions between God, the friend, and me but I wanted to extend these experiences with you just in case you experience these things - or you want to be a blessing in this way. 

I realized that I can live for myself or I can be open to being used by God to intercede for others. 

I do not always know when a friend is struggling. When they open up and tell me they need God's help, I often see it as an open door to pray until we see God's answer. 

I sometimes have dreams about people. When I wake up and I have a feeling the dream is from God, I pray for the person. I don't always tell the person about the dream. I only say something if I sense God wants me to do that. I realize that sometimes, intercessory prayer is between me and the Lord. The person going through the difficulty is already carrying a heavy burden. They don't always have to know I am praying. Sometimes, they do want to know. I find comfort in knowing others are praying for me. I also realize that others are very private. God also knows this because He created them uniquely and marvelously. I believe He considers that when I pray for someone without informing them about my divine assignment. 

Offering and giving help to a friend, in my experience, has to be to their level of comfort. I tried to act to my level of comfort and my help has not always been well-received. Please consider the person's level of comfort when trying to help. The easiest way to figure out a person's level of comfort is to pray and to ask the person. Some may welcome physical, practical help. Others are so overwhelmed that pray from a distance is all they need. Offering help in the name of the Lord is never about me and my preferences.

I hope you are encouraged to do the following:

• Pray for your friends when God brings them to your awareness;

• Reach out and help if it is something God wants you to do;

• Remember that serving is unto the Lord. We glorify Him through humble obedience;

• Receive the help God is sending you. He is Sovereign. He also uses people to help us in our time of need.