by Rick Warren — July 23, 2023
From Better Together
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
As a pastor, I have seen so many situations that nobody should ever have to go through alone. Nobody should ever have to wait in the hospital while a loved one is in life-or-death surgery. No woman should ever have to wait alone for the lab report on a high-risk pregnancy. Nobody should ever have to stand at the edge of an open grave alone. Nobody should ever have to spend the first night alone when their spouse has just walked out.
Life’s tough times and tragedies are inevitable. Each of us will face them—but we don’t need to go through them alone. We need God’s safety net to help hold us up through these difficult times.
What is God’s safety net? It is a group of other believers, a handful of people who are really committed to you. We call this kind of group a community. Here is God’s plan for community: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV). Community is God’s answer to despair.
Romans 12:15 expresses a similar idea: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (NIV).
The first part of that verse is easy. When something good happens to someone, it’s often easy to join in on the party.
But when someone is having a tough time, it can seem more difficult. But, really, it’s simple. When you’re going through a crisis, you don’t want advice. You just want somebody to be there to sit with you, hold your hand, put an arm around your shoulder, or cry with you.
As Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). Encouraging someone doesn’t always mean giving a pep talk or words of wisdom. Sometimes the best kind of encouragement is just being present, sitting in silence, and weeping with a friend.
Do you have a safety net—a group of fellow Christians you know you can count on in life’s toughest times? If not, go out today and be intentional about building those friendships. The hard times in life are inevitable, but you don’t have to go into them unprepared.