I grew up in a medical family and the hospital was my second home. In some ways it still is. Whenever a family member or dear friend is admitted, I grab my “go bag” and head up there–more than content to sit and wait out whatever is ahead. I learned it from my parents. It’s what we do. The daughter of a surgeon and an RN, I’ve had my share of minor medical procedures–and a few not so minor.
I’m just now on the other side of a medical issue. Most of my Facebook friends know that I had concerns with my thyroid and some nodules biopsied last week. I just learned today that everything is OK! (Praising and thanking the Lord for that!) The plan is to keep our eyes on things on a yearly basis. Very good news! There were several appointments–a couple that seemed fairly ominous. For each one, I experienced these beautiful gifts of friendship in action.
The Gift of Prayer
Prior to each appointment, I shared my situation with my Bible study groups and they prayed for me. Knowing my friends would be praying during my biopsy was a great comfort.
When we entered the exam room, a tray was set up with all the necessary implements. I went over to snap a picture of it, (Yes, I take pictures of everything!) and my husband said it needed to be a selfie. So that’s what I did. I quickly posted it on Facebook and received many comments from people who were praying at that very moment.
Knowing someone is praying for you at the very moment you need it is a treasure indeed!
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
The Gift of Encouragement
Words of encouragement were another treasure. There are so many ways to encourage someone. Here are a few that were meaningful for me.
- Scripture that was appropriate for my situation
- Shared personal experiences. One friend shared her biopsy experience so I would know what to expect. Then affirmed that I would do fine during the procedure. I knew God would be with me, but it was nice to hear the encouragement from someone else.
- A quick text afterwards to check on me and see how I was doing
The Gift of Presence
My husband was with me during my biopsy. Knowing he was right there was another source of encouragement. He’s an engineer by trade and has the dry sense of humor that goes along with it. He kept things light before, during, and after my procedure. (Then he treated me to dinner afterwards! I love that man!!)
More than that, I felt the Presence of the Lord. He promised:
For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people [or a doctor with a loooong needle] do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5).
I knew God would be there with me. Strange as it may sound, I actually anticipated, looked forward to, experiencing His Presence with me during the procedure. And indeed, He was there. He didn’t take away the pain, but I knew He was with me the whole time.
The Gift of Practical Help
One of my very good friends offered to drive me to my biopsy. My appointment was in the late afternoon, and my husband was going to meet me there after he got off of work.
I’m a fairly independent person. I like to do things on my own. I enjoy solitude during difficult times. I like to manage my own life. But she asked in front of my husband—and he insisted.
Tammy recognized that we would have two cars to drive home, that I would probably want to talk with Tim about the procedure afterwards, and that I might not feel up to the drive.
I love Tammy’s offer. She didn’t say, “If you need anything, let me know.” She was specific. Even though I didn’t want to accept her offer, I needed it. It was a gift not to worry about transportation.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Friendship In Action
True friendship is a gift from the Lord. Sometimes we don’t realize what a gift it is until we are in crisis. Sometimes we just forget and take our friendships for granted.
There are many beautiful gifts in friendship. I’ve listed only a few. But these gifts of friendship in action have meant so much to me in the last few weeks. They are what make friendship real.
Who in your circle of friends needs prayer, an encouraging word, your physical presence, or some practical help? What other gifts of friendship are meaningful to you? I can’t wait to see the list!
Remember, friends see the need–and act!Friends see the need--and act!