"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
The toll of an emotionally draining week had reached its peak. Though I was trying to use various diversions to clear my mind, my thoughts were overpowering. All I wanted was to curl up in a ball and fall apart. Worry was winning.
My husband sensed the pain that was showing from my welling eyes. Like any good friend, he asked, "What's going on?"
Determined to keep my composure, I chose to fight my battle alone. "I'm okay" slid out before I caught my lie.
Minutes later he asked again, "What's wrong?" My resolve couldn't hold up any longer and I blubbered, "I just can't get past this anxiety." Greg listened as the thoughts swirling in my mind came out. After I emptied my heart, he shared a story from Scripture, which helped me override my stress with thankfulness and trust.
I am so glad the Lord preserved stories in the Bible of those who had issues as well. During this hard season I was in, Greg reminded me of Elijah. Like Elijah, sometimes when I struggle, I opt to struggle alone.
In 1 Kings 19:3, even after seeing God work miracles, Elijah was undone by a threat. A queen was trying to kill him and he decided the way out was to run.
We get a look into his thought process in 1 Kings 19:3-4, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord,' he said. 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.'" (NIV)
I don't blame Elijah one bit for running when trouble hit. I have that instinct myself some days. Running to social media or a chocolate goodie when my emotions are a jumbled mess is the easiest way out—at least temporarily.
Where Elijah missed it, and I did too on my bad day, was when he chose to go solo.
Elijah had a servant who was traveling with him, but he left the servant behind. He went farther into the desert alone, where his emotions only turned darker.
Elijah and I both could have used the truth in Ecclesiastes 4, "Two are better than one ... if either of them falls down, one can help the other up." When we share our troubles with another godly friend, she can often help us to see what we cannot. Her different perspective opens a new way of thinking that can lead to hope and faith and away from despair.
When you add the power and presence of the Holy Spirit to that friendship, Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us our relationships become "... a cord of three strands... not quickly broken." Our pain, when shared, can be transformed to peace. Strength can take the place of sorrow.
I eased my stress that difficult week by sharing my worries with my husband. Thankfully he directed me to God's Word where I found hope and encouragement in the midst of my anxiety. Is there a burden you are carrying that would be lighter if you shared it with someone? Make a way today to allow them to help you handle your load.
Jesus, thank You that You have given us the gift of relationships. Give us the wisdom to know when and with whom to share our personal problems. Please strengthen us so we can help strengthen another. Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Who is your "go to" friend who lifts you up when you fall down? Give them your thanks today!
If you need a friend who makes you stronger, ask the Father to give you the type of friend described in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron; so one person sharpens another." (NIV)
© 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105