by: Staci Stallings
One of the hardest book sections I’ve ever written was one in which there was a tragic death which deeply affected the hero. His girlfriend’s world is rocked when this happens as well, but he’s not got a huge direct and personal support base. She’s literally left to pick up the pieces as he fights to figure out how to go on.
Let’s just be honest here. Life is not easy. Sometimes it can be downright cruel. Things happen that are out of our control. We get into situations that we can’t predict or untangle. Many times these situations are overwhelming and heart-wrenching. They feel like they have the power to take us right out of the game completely.
Over the years, I have learned that this phenomenon is not a personal thing. Like people who ask, “Why do these things always happen to me?”
The answer is: to one degree or another, they happen to everyone.
As I have internalized that understanding–not on a hopeless scale but on a practical one, I have also learned that if you’re in relationships with others, bad things are going to happen to them too.
The other day I had a slight lull between running and racing, and I decided to text a friend of mine who I knew was on vacation and at an amusement park. Now she’s never been a big one on amusement parks, but this time was supposed to be different. I was just planning on seeing how things were going and hearing, “I rode this…. I rode this…. YAY me!” So imagine my surprise when she texts back that she is sitting in traffic (someone else driving) and she’s about to have a panic attack.
At first I thought she was kidding. Then I realized she really, REALLY wasn’t.
In the blink of an eye, I was in the middle of telling her to breathe, to settle, to pray. I was casting Satan away from her and praying like crazy. We stayed on the texting until she made it back to the hotel. Then when I got home, I alerted our other friend to be praying as well. Things seemed to settle down after that. First friend is now back home, and things are fine.
But I’m telling you… when you make God connections with other people, you are going to get to WALK THROUGH some tough stuff!
Like the night a newer friend of mine called. They had taken her to the emergency room and she was going to have major surgery as soon as they could get it all arranged. I’ve told her since then, “I didn’t know what to SAY! What do you say to that? That is like WAY over my ability to handle.” Of course, that’s not why she called, but there are times that I’m like, “God, You can’t be serious! Why would You send ME? I don’t know know what to say. I don’t know what to do. I’m not equal to this assignment AT ALL.”
Maybe I’m not supposed to admit that. I know most of us don’t. And there was a time in the not so distant past, I wouldn’t have admitted it either. But it’s the truth as I live and breathe.
When you get connected with God, you’re going to get sent into some situations that you have NO IDEA how to handle. The other thing I’ve noticed is how fast those situations come up. Everything’s fine and the phone rings…. Things are okay and then something happens and they are not.
Most of all what I’ve learned is you are going to have to walk through some tough stuff. Yours and with your friends. Learning to walk through and walking through, are probably the two hardest things you will ever do as an apostle of Christ.
While helping someone connect can be frustrating. Walking through can be downright terrifying. Like reading through an email of someone and knowing how perilously close they are to completely giving up. Or conversing with someone and hearing the “I’m so tired, I’m done” in their voice. Or the day-to-day of untangling a mess made over years of the thing tangling up around them.
No. It’s not easy. Sometimes you will think it’s going to break you right in half. And sometimes it actually does that.
But as you walk through with them, as you teach them to keep going to the well in the midst of horrible, as you stand by them and walk by them–praying and talking and praying some more, you begin to learn that it is in the walking through that true and deep relationships are born and grown.
Learn to walk through–your stuff first. Then with others as well. It is the best gift you can ever, ever give someone.