Handling separation from friends
Being apart from our friends and church can really take its toll. Thankfully, we have a great example of how to handle the situation from the apostle, Paul. Facing many times in prison, and separated from the church, let’s see how his experience can shape our own…
He preferred face-to-face contact.
If you’re struggling with being separated from those you love, you’re in good company. Paul is very honest about the fact that he wants to see his friends in person. Sending letters was not enough to satisfy his need for friendship. If you share the same feelings, that’s OK! It’s OK to explain to your friends that while you enjoy talking from a distance, you find it much easier and more satisfying to chat in person. Paul also describes deep longing in 1 Thessalonians 2, saying that he felt ‘orphaned by being separated’ from his loved ones, ‘in person, not in thought.’. It’s important to let people know that we are still thinking about them, even when we can’t share quality time. Why not send someone a text today to let them know they are in your thoughts?
His mission was just as important
It can be hard if you are living with people who are not Christians. Even though Paul and Silas were away from their friends, and other Christians, they didn’t stop praying and worshiping. Instead of suppressing their faith, they sought God. The circumstances weren’t easy. They’d been beaten and flogged and were in chains. However, they made sure to have their priorities straight. The result? The guard at the prison saw their faith, experienced God’s power and became a Christian. Even the least likely of converts are saved, and in this account, we see entire households being baptised. Who are you sharing a space with? It’s important to share our faith and continue our worship, while loving those around us. Our greatest commandment, and great commission still stand. We need to love God, love others, and see them come to faith.
He was honest about his experience
After months of fighting against the Coronavirus, cracks may be starting to show. It can be difficult to remain constantly positive, and it can also be difficult to tell our friends how we are truly feeling. Paul strikes a great balance between finding joy and excitement in God, while also sharing honestly about his suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul authentically shares his passions, his concerns and his sufferings. From verse 16, we see an extensive list of all that he has endured and yet, he summarises this list by pointing back to God. He claims that he will boast in his weakness, because there he finds strength. Paul’s letters are full of assurance in God’s provision, His love and His concern for his people. How amazing, that Paul could encourage us so much in his darkest times. How are we authentically encouraging those we connect with, while not hiding the truth of the difficulties we face?
Are you struggling to talk to loved ones about the hope you have? Be inspired from our Keys to Evangelism series or gain encouragement from Honesty Over Silence.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash