(This is a guest post from my friend Rich Dixon.)
What do you do when a friend’s floundering?
- I know … you listen, except sometimes you can’t.
- You pray, and you want desperately to believe it helps, but it feels distant and invisible and you want something here-and-now.
- You ask if there’s anything you can do when you know the answer will be that there’s really nothing you can do. So you hear, “Thanks for asking,” but that doesn’t seem like it helped much.
When a friend’s floundering, is it true that there’s not much you can do that matters?
You can try some of those simplistic platitudes that offer easy answers to hard questions and quick fixes to long-term problems. They sound “nice” and we pretend they make us feel better, but nobody believes them—not really.
I try asking myself, “What helps me when I’m in that kind of place?”
But the answer’s not very helpful, because the honest answer is, “Nothing, at least nothing anyone else can do.”
Does that sound cruel? Sorry, it’s just true. I appreciate the sentiment, but the truth is that only one thing really helps me.
Me. And time. With Jesus.
I don’t like that answer. I want something visible, and He’s not. I want something immediate, and time takes, well, time. I want someone else to fix it, to be responsible for it, but there just me.
So you listen, if you can. You pray. You do whatever you can.
But mostly you trust Jesus.
Maybe that’s the best thing you can do for your friend. You trust, when your friend believes but can’t quite feel it, that He’ll penetrate the fog and touch a heart.
Someone trusted in your place once. Looking back, it was the thing that made all the difference.
So that what you do for your friend. You trust.