So I've been reminded of something since this tiny thing called Tom Lost His Job. Namely, some friends are clueless about offering sympathy.
And this is the other thing I'm remembering--God gives us different friends for different reasons, separate seasons. And to meet different needs.
It's extremely rare if you have a friend who is wonderful at everything. You know, she's the first one to offer the perfect words of comfort, she gives the warmest, most relaxing tea parties, she helps you find amazing clothes created just for you, she knows when to keep silent, when to back off, when to step up, roll back her sleeves and help like crazy.
If you have one of those friends, hey, you are extra-blessed.
But for the rest of us? We find friends who come with limited strengths. One loves the very same books we do, but she doesn't know what to say when we experience hard times. She might disappear, even, until our hurt vanishes. Another friend is a blast to shop with, yet she's never invited us into her home. Your online friend knows just when you need an email, but she's thousands of miles away and can never bring over a casserole when you lose a loved one. She can never sit with you on the couch and hold your hand while you cry.
Yet all of that is ok. God places the perfect people in our lives, just when we need them. Where one is weak, the other is strong, and thus, our friendship needs get met through the variety of souls we call Friend.
And of course, there's this: God desires that we race to Him first to meet our needs. He longs to be our very best friend, hence His reason for surrounding us with, well, flawed, imperfect folks. If we only knew perfect need-meeters, we wouldn't desperately need Him (so we would believe, even though we'd never admit it).
And that would be tragic.
So today I say appreciate all your wonderful flawed, imperfect friends. Appreciate each one for the two or three special comforts she brings to your life with her laughter, grace and God-given talents. And try never to resent any friend for the gaps, for the times she seems to disappear just when you need her so much.
We all have gaps like those. God designed us that way on purpose so that He'd be the One to run to. So that He'd be our number one go-to-friend.
NancyR brought up a good point in my comment box so I'm going to publish her comment and mine here, hoping it will add more clarification (I try so hard to be clear, but sometimes fail....sigh...):
I think many people have trouble expressing sympathy. Perhaps we should not analyze how words, meant to sympathize, should be said, but just appreciate that the person was thinking of us and expressed sympathy in the best way they knew how.
Nancy, I think by these posts I'm encouraging people to 'come up higher' in their ability to comfort others. To ask themselves, "If I was dying inside, what would I want others to give to me?" If it's just a couple Bible verses, well, ok.... but I doubt that would be all.
Always, every single day, God shows me areas where He would love to make me stronger in love (the most important thing) so that I represent Him better on this Earth. And then I pass along those lessons here in my blog. God gives it to me kind of rough, but then, I asked Him to not leave me in my weakness.
But I realize not everyone likes hard truth so that's why my blog is not for everyone. That's why people tell me sometimes they hated me, left, and then returned when they were ready to hear what I had to say. :) (Just some thoughts. A friend and I were discussing these thoughts this morning so I'm still rather riled up. heh)
"When you have a problem, do you run to the phone or to the Throne?" ... Joyce Meyer