As I looked across the meeting table at Julie*, I was praising the Lord in my heart for what He had done; not only in this past year by bringing her through one of the most challenging years of her young life, but in the past five years, through the friendship with her mentor, Susan*.
The three of us, all believers, knew that Julie had lived out the scripture so many of us hold dear: “For all things work together for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I can’t even count how many times I have personally drawn on that truth for my own encouragement and the encouragement of others. It has also been a huge key to building my faith, as I see the Lord unfailingly faithful to this promise in the lives of His children (including myself).
Julie, now 16 years old, reflected and recognized that her trials brought her closer to the Lord. She also articulated how she can apply the things learned to her future… And now there is a new sense of hope for her future, as she has begun making healthier choices for herself in all areas of her life and is experiencing positive results.
She turned to Susan and told her face-to-face, “You were always there for me, throughout everything, and not everybody was. Your encouragement kept me going when I wanted to give up and your compassion let me know that I could tell you anything.” Then Julie looked at me and said, “I do tell her everything. She knows everything about me.” Turning to Susan again she remarked, “It must have been hard for you sometimes too.”
Susan told Julie that her perseverance touched her deeply, as she had never witnessed anyone needing to face the challenges she has faced. Seeing Julie triumphant through it all by the power of Christ strengthened her own faith. But, she confessed to Julie that there were times when she didn’t personally know how to “help” her.
It was there that I interrupted Susan to reflect back on Julie’s comment just moments before: “You were THERE!” That is what Julie needed from Susan and that is what Susan gave… her presence through it all.
So, together we rejoiced in the good work of the Lord, bringing Julie through her circumstances with a refined faith and strengthened disposition, and providing them both with their special friendship, a vehicle of blessing and growth.
Join our praises, as you are a part of this great work and can share in the joy of the Lord’s mighty hand in this ministry. †