By: Tim Sader
May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. (2 Timothy 1:16)
Growing up as a cannon kid gave me an opportunity to have many friends so I could catch a glimpse of what it means to love our neighbors. Previously I shared that one of my best friends and fellow gamer was my neighbor Joseph. His parents Phil and Carol became another set of parents to me. They cared for me like I was another older brother to their daughter Erica and along with Joseph, I looked after her. Like David my grade school friend; Joseph was one of the most loyal friends I’ve ever had. He went out of his way to include me in everything that he was doing. He ripped out his sister’s closet doors and built a ramp so I could more easily get in and out of his house. When I stayed over at their house he helped me in every way that he could. At this time it wasn’t much but he prepared our food, got me drinks, handed me stuff in the bathroom, helped me get in and out of bed. After he got his license and I couldn’t get mine he would put me in his car or drive our van after we miraculously talked my dad into it. He was forever trying to hook me up with friends of his girlfriends. We got a job telemarketing so he could drive me. We worked for a funeral home giving away grave plots to people who would talk to our salesmen. When I needed surgery Joseph helped mom with me. Some nights we laughed for hours about things I would do on pain meds. Recovery was hard but I adjusted and learned that laughter is the best medicine. He taught me that sometimes we have to laugh. No matter what we are going through it’s not as bad as it could be. With humor is how we should face hard situations in life. Not that everything’s funny but more like find the positive in all situations. A joyful heart is good medicine (Pr. 17:22). Not only medicine to our spirit but bodies too. Laughter brings healing to every part of us. My friend Joseph always said, “It could be worse” and that is true about bad circumstances. It could always be worse!
Joseph and his family faced many hard times when I was frequently hanging out at their house. Inspite of the disfuction he would always rise above his intense anger and frustration. He found a way to get back to being positive and seemed to not have a care in the world. I mostly was drawn to how carefree he could be and through our mutual loyalty we built our friendship. The Lord delights in us when we are trustworthy because lies are detestable to Him (Pr.12:22). I remember one time when something my mom knew about his mom was accidentally revealed to him in a conversation. This threw everything out of whack between us because to him if she knew I knew and that seemed like a lie to him in the moment. After it cost me my job and he had time to think he realized mom wasn’t trying to keep it from him and what she knew wasn’t my concern. Our friendship healed quickly but I learned that being trusted by others is a great honor but even the appearance of betrayal will bring it all crashing down. We showed a friendly love and devotion to one another because of our willingness to honor eachother often over ourselves (Rom. 12:10). The Lord is seeking our devotion to Him; to do this David tells his son to acknowledge God, serve Him with all his heart and a willing mind. The Lord sees into our heart, He understands our every thought and desire. If we seek Him we will be found by Him; but if we turn away from Him we will be rejected by Him (1 Chron. 28:9). God can be trusted in what He says so if we trust Him we will devote ourselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable to everyone (Ti. 3:8). I pray that God shows mercy to the Whitlocks because out of their own troubles I found joy in a friendship that saw past my struggles and that was refreshing to me.
When problems become big in our lives the way we look at them in the beginning is the way we continue to handle them until the end of it. Just because we get angry, scared, jealous or frustrated when we face troubles doesn’t mean we cannot find a positive way to look at it instead. Sometimes the only way to handle things is by learning to laugh when they get hard. Healing begins when we realize it could be worse. When we see that it’s not as bad as it could be then it won’t be and we will be able to face it with a positive attitude.
Lord I ask that we would look to you when we have struggles in our lives. We believe that you are trustworthy so help us to be more carefree in the midst of our complicated lives. Lord help us to be loyal friends to the people in our lives and that our friends would be equally devoted to us. Most of all Lord we want to be loyal to you so that we can be sure you are there when we need to see beyond our struggles and be refreshed by you. In Jesus name, Amen.
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