Article: GOD’S COMFORTING PRESENCE THROUGH FRIENDS! | Jacob Varghese

We are currently living in uncertain times with the outbreak of Covid. I started feeling feverish and tired on 14 April 2021. Being aware of the symptoms of the Corona virus, I immediately got myself tested. I was COVID positive. As my family came to know, they were anxious and worried as I was at the time, but fortunately, they were very supportive, hopeful, and positive about the whole situation. I was admitted in the hospital for further treatment. I remember it being the toughest and the most difficult time of my life, where besides dealing with the discomfort from fever and pain in muscles, I was also impacted by isolation and uncertainty of the entire situation. However trusting in the Lord, I tried to keep calm and a positive attitude through it all. After a few days of rest and home care, now I am recovering back to my normal life.

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In the midst of my Covid experience, for my friends and family it was not uncommon to call or to have a video chat with me. My friends and family also reached out for support in so many ways as they grieve the loss of their typical routine and to navigate uncertainty of the future. My message to everyone is that be supportive of the people dealing with this rare virus, because even if you don’t get it someone around you might suffer from it. Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being. Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. To all my friends who have stood by my side, thank you.
When Job experienced the devastating loss of his children and became afflicted with painful sores on his entire body, his suffering was overwhelming. The Bible tells us that his friends wanted to comfort him. When his friends found him, “they began to weep aloud and tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:12-13
Job’s friends initially showed remarkable understanding. They sensed that Job simply needed someone to sit and mourn with him. Later we read and understand that as these three friends began to speak, the irony is that they ended up giving Job poor advice. So often the best thing we can do when comforting a suffering friend is to sit with them prayerfully in their suffering. One thing I understood as I gone through my sufferings during Covid days is that a friend’s presence and availability in the midst of suffering provides great comfort.

If you are trying to comfort a friend but are panicking yourself, it is not time to weep aloud but it is time to trust the Lord. During times like this, our faith can be challenged and it can be hard to see where God fits in with this new normal. I have learned to work differently; and love more unconditionally though sometimes life still feels like a mess. It is difficult to overemphasis the significance of friendship especially during this difficult time of Covid which I have gone through. I must say along with my family I had two Godly friends who helped me to come out of my situation quite a bit. Two of my good friends stood throughout this period of sufferings and depending on God they found ways to turn the negatives into good through their continued trust in the Lord, regular prayers and required supports, calls, providing all what they could do to be make sure that God is an ever present help with me. I understood that I needed them more than ever right in the middle of my Covid experience. It is not to undermine the presence of God and friendship of Jesus in my life.

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True friends will be with you through life’s most soul-shaking changes. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” In John 15:13-15 we see “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
The Bible says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). As Christians, only by drawing closer to God and having real interaction with God we can maintain a normal relationship with God and have friendship with God. It is just like two people associating with each other, who can only keep their close relationship going for a long time by being more open with each other, communicating more when they encounter issues, and by understanding and respecting each other. In this age of fast-paced life, complicated relationships and evil social trends our hearts are easily disturbed by the people, events and things of the outside world, and they prevent us from maintaining a normal relationship with God. This leads to us becoming more and more distant from God and, when we encounter issues, it becomes very hard for us to calm ourselves before God, and to draw close to God. That is how exactly we can maintain a close relationship with God and our relationship with God will definitely become closer.

JACOB VARGHESE

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