My roommate in college used to tell me she could only parallel park when I was in the passenger seat. Was this because I was an excellent parallel parker? Absolutely not. I simply sat there for moral support while she tried to navigate the nerve-wracking task of parallel parking down on UK’s campus.
Good friends offer support, even if they aren’t an expert in the current struggle you’re facing. The best of friends listen well and offer to pray for you. Sometimes the worst thing friends can do in hard times is to say, “I know exactly how you feel,” or when they try to fix something that can’t necessarily be fixed.
If you have a friend who is currently going through a difficult season and you don’t know what to do, keep it simple. Just being there for them is often the best way to help a friend who is hurting. We can help others in grief and hard times by showing up, listening, and loving however the Spirit prompts us to. Loving our hurting friends may involve showing up to the hospital. It may look like bringing a warm meal. Or maybe it looks like sharing the sadness and crying with them. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
If you are the friend who is currently going through a difficult season, lean into the community around you. Sometimes people might be nervous that they won’t say the right things or do the right things to help you. Take a step of vulnerability in their direction, and let them embrace you in this hard season. Will people say the wrong things, or perhaps not have enough strength to support you? Yes, sometimes. But that’s okay—give them grace, and don’t let that stop you from continuing to lean into people. We were designed to need human community, but ultimately, they can’t provide everything we need. When your community falls short, remember that God never does. He is, and will always be, enough.
Do you remember the children’s worship song Jesus Loves Me? Spend some time singing this song or reflecting on these simple truths of Jesus’ love, strength, and protection.