Friends In Suffering

How do friends help in suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

One of the interesting phenomena that takes place is that a place to commit a crime and get away with it is in public. There are stories of a woman being raped in an apartment complex and is in the outdoors and is screaming, but no one does anything. Why? Because everyone assumes that someone else is doing something.

Consider our hearing of car horns. When car alarms started with horns going off, people might have noticed. Now, we hear the horn go off and no one really does anything. It’s become mundane. My personal thought is since everyone has smartphones now, what we should do is when someone starts to break into the car, it sends a silent message to the person who owns the car so the thief doesn’t know and the police can arrive and catch the person in the act.

So it is sometimes with friendship. Friends can be a great help in suffering, but one of the great sadnesses is that usually, we assume someone else will do it. Because of that, those people who need the help of their friends are not getting it.

A few months ago, I was on Facebook and saw in a group someone posting about being in the darkest spot of their life and wanting to end it all. I knew this person some and immediately messaged them and started talking them through it. For a few days, I was getting in touch with them everyday just to check on them. Eventually, they said they had someone around them who was helping them and I moved on, but I did take the step to reach out and help.

Just now, my wife and I were heading home and she was in a depressed state. She could be still, but she’s sounding a bit upbeat right now. Why? Because a friend called her she wasn’t expecting and they’re just talking. They’re not really talking about their problems so much from what I overhear, but just talking.

We can have this tendency where we all meet together and then go home and we forget about one another. I’ll confess, I’m not good at this either. However, what could it mean to a person to just get a message or a text or a phone call saying “I’m thinking about you.”? As I said, when I was in Middle School, the highlight of my week was my Sunday School teacher calling and seeing how I was doing.

If we send the out of sight, out of mind, message enough, people will start to think they don’t really matter. They just have fair-weather friends. I know it’s made my wife tremendously happy to get a call from someone who knows our financial situation and will still say something like, “I want to take you out for lunch or dinner” or “I want to see a movie with you.” I love being with Allie, but some healthy time apart is good for us too.

Suffering is always easier when you have other people coming alongside you and walking with you. It tells you you are not alone in the journey. “But I don’t know how to help my friend with their problems!” So what? Maybe your help isn’t needed. Maybe just listening is needed. Maybe just a distraction is needed.

This also comes back to being a friend. A friend who is only there when times are good is not much of a friend. Be a friend who is there when times are bad.

In Christ,
Nick Peters