They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to set sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed. Acts 28: 10
At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged. Acts 28: 16
These verses resonate. It’s been a very demanding past four years. Sometimes I have felt as if I lived in a foreign land. Like you, I live, work and serve people who don’t believe or think as I do. Most of my friends and family members are not Christians. I have to listen hard, understand that we can be coming from very different places and pray for wisdom in responding to questions and problems. Ultimately, we usually have pretty different goals for our lives. Seeking to “know and love God” better doesn’t make sense to my nonbelieving friends and sometimes that leads to conflict (yech) or the mutual agreeing to disagree.
That being said, the encouragement and presence of my Christian friends and family provide shelter and breathe fresh air back into my life. Last night was a perfect example. Over dinner and coffee, a treasured friend and I spent hours sharing what God was doing in our lives, examples of His kindnesses towards us, answered prayers and areas of disappointment and struggle. When we parted, I was honored by the intimacy and honesty of our conversation and encouraged to hang on tighter to the God who loves me. I savor these moments.
Yes, conflicts arise between believers too (Christian History 101), but the high calling of friendship and loving one another prevails. I think one of the reasons Paul was such a force for the kingdom was because he knew the practical kindness and friendship of fellow believers. Who has God used to draw me closer to Him and who is He calling me to encourage? I want to continue to ask these questions and delight in the people who are the answers.