I got a text this morning from one of my friends. A friend I have never actually met in person, but through the invention of technology, our paths crossed by means of social media. As I read her text, I quickly responded in excitement, and rightly so. I set my phone down on my bookshelf. I made myself comfortable on my bed, and began to read my devotionals. When I finished reading, I walked across my room and I started to think about that text message again. I began to pray for my friend and thank God for her, and all that He is doing in her life. All of a sudden, tears came flooding to my eyes.
When I first started talking to her, she was constantly speaking of suicide and how much God hated her. She believed with all her heart that she was unwanted, unloved, and ugly. I didn’t really know how to respond. I knew what I believed, but I also knew I couldn’t make her believe those same things. Just like I have had my own journey with God and believing in what He says, she had to have her own as well.
I sent Bible verses and words of encouragement often, but I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t being a “Bible thumper” either. I knew it wasn’t, and never will be, in my power to save her (or anyone else for that matter). I continued to pray, and trust that God crossed our paths for a reason. Even when it seemed hopeless.
Yet I knew that God was using me to plant seeds, and not trees. It would take time for them to grow, and I needed to trust the process. I often wondered why God had crossed our paths as I felt that I couldn’t possibly make an impact. But God was teaching me something else in the process–that by being there for her, I would learn to love like Jesus.
As anyone who has tried will tell you, that is no easy thing to do. Yet I persevered. It wasn’t without sacrifice, as I had to lay down my pride and my selfishness often.
Sometimes I would send a message to ask how she was doing, or share something about my day that I thought she would like to talk about. That’s what friends do. I wanted her to know that I wasn’t around to just tell her about Jesus until she believed and then peace out. That’s not how Jesus lived His life. He met people where they were, in all their brokenness and sin, and He sat with them. He talked with them. He ate with them. He cultivated relationships with them and loved them. Their lives forever changed.
See Matthew 9:9-13, John 4:1-26, Luke 7:36-50–just to name a few.
I sought to encourage her often, and tell her how loved she is and that God has a plan for her life. She fought hard against me at times, and swore that she didn’t believe a word I said about her, much less about God. Other times I received a simple “thank you” reply. As hard as some moments were, I still believed that there was hope for her (and I still do). I believed that if she had truly given up on God, that she would have stopped talking to me a long time ago.
It has been a 3 year journey of encouraging, praying for, and loving her and I’ve honestly seen more downs than ups. When I would tell others about her story, they would ask me why I still talked to her, and said that they would’ve given up on her. That broke my heart. But today I will say, God is SO GOOD!!!
To see how far my friend has come is such beautiful thing, and I know God is not finished yet. She text me saying that she has been watching Transformation Church on YouTube and how it has impacted her and it is changing her perspective. As small as this might seem, I know it is not without significance. God is moving.
Perhaps there is someone in your life that you are praying and fighting for to believe truth, please know that it is not in vain. I know discouragement comes, but God is SO FAITHFUL. Continue to pray and declare His Word (Isaiah 55:11). Maybe you will be praying for 5 years, or for 50 years. Maybe it’ll be less, but don’t ever give up.