“Friendship . . . is born at the moment when one man says to another ‘What! You too?
I thought that no one but myself . . .’” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
There’s something about sitting down and sipping a steaming cup of coffee with a friend who knows you. You don’t have to explain your motives, your back story, your weaknesses, your passions, your fears. She’s walked alongside you in different seasons of life, and there is comfort in simply sitting in her presence and picking up where you left off. And it’s even better if she is walking the same path as you or has forged ahead on common grounds—whether it’s in your role as a mother, a caretaker, a wife, a friend, an employee, an encourager, or a griever.
I have a rare genetic condition that affects one in 250,000 people, one that comes with serious health implications. When I was diagnosed in my 30s—after two life-threatening events—I had never heard of the condition, let alone met anyone just like me. But God, in His providence, placed a sister in Christ only 20 minutes from me who shared my diagnosis, much of the same scary health history, and the empathetic understanding of what life with Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is like. When she speaks about her past, present, and future, I think, “She gets it!” in awe of God’s sweet provision of this friend in my life.
Often, when we are suffering, Satan deceives us into thinking we are utterly alone. However, there are so many passages of Scripture about our God who knows us. And we can take comfort in the fact that a good God sees us, our circumstances, and our hearts.
God knows our needs
When we are stressed or worried about paying the bills, meeting deadlines, the scary unknown, or putting food on the table, God is lovingly attentive. “. . . for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:32b
God knows His children
As parents, we are acutely aware of our children, even in a crowded park or a full classroom. We know their struggles, their limits, and when they need encouragement to stretch themselves for their own benefit. Not only does a good God know us, but we can know Him and trust in His goodness. “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me.” John 10:14
God knows our frame
Our loving Father understands when we are spent, fearful, weary, and want to give up. Look to Him for His grace and new mercies that never run dry. “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust . . . But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children.” Psalm 103:13-14; 17
God knows our works
God sees our work for Him, even if things are not turning out how we planned. Don’t give up, and stay connected to the Source of your fruit, your first love—a reminder given to the church of Ephesus in verse four of Revelation 2. “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.” Revelation 2:2-3
God knows His plans for me
There is peace in knowing that our suffering is not in vain and that our lives serve an eternal purpose. We may not see or understand that purpose on this side of Heaven, but we can take comfort in knowing that God sees the whole picture—and He promises His plans are good. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Is there a past circumstance or trial in your life that you’re glad God knew about that you didn’t know about in advance?
Can you see the eternal (or even earthly) purpose for that circumstance or trial now?
Have there been times when you’ve felt utterly alone?
How were you able to overcome that?
Of the verses above, what do you need most in your life right now, and why?
Can you commit to memorizing that verse to help you when anxious thoughts arise?
What does John 15:14-16 say about Christ as your friend? How can this comfort you when you’re tempted to feel alone? (Side note: We aren’t Christ’s friends because we obey, we obey because we are His friends—it’s not a condition of our friendship, but a declaration of our love for Him.)
Thank you to Erica who generously contributed to the Bible study included in my book Memoirs of a Headcase: Held by the God of Hope.Learn more about Erica and God’s story of goodness at www.ohhisgoodness.com where she uses her incredible journey to encourage others. If you cannot afford a copy of my book , please feel free to download the free Bible study or contact me.
Photo credit: Nazar Sharafutdinov, Andrii Podilnyk, John Wilson.