I have a friend. Her name is Mendy. I knew her in college and she was recently paralyzed in a car wreck. You all have read many things I have written since her accident. There was something that happened to me since her accident. I was taken to an emotional depth that I had not experienced with anyone else.
Since becoming paralyzed myself, I have had the opportunity to minister to many with a disability. I am always thankful when The Lord brings others across my path. As I have tried to reach out to them, they in turn have encouraged me. But something was different for me with my friend. I knew her before. She wasn’t a stranger. It was so much more personal. When I first heard of her accident, I cried. I knew the journey that her family had just been introduced too. It is a hard journey and my heart physically hurt for them. I knew all too well what it meant for them.
As we have talked about different things through these last months, I don’t just feel sorry for her. I feel what she is feeling. Every emotion she has shared with me….I have relived them. It has honestly felt like I have been transported back in time and have experienced each stage again. I know that sounds weird, but it is true. I honestly wasn’t prepared to feel this way. I know it is because of knowing her and that she is not a stranger to me. However, before you think I am weird, I want to share what this has meant to me.
There is always a risk to loving and feeling deeply for someone. When you have experienced what another person has experienced, it gives you a strong compassion. You no longer look at someone and say, “I can only imagine how that must feel.” You look at someone and know how it feels. You hurt with them…not just for them. We may want to guard ourselves from these kind of feelings because it makes everything so raw again. It is hard to go relive all of that.
I have a friend. His name is Jesus. As I have thought about how I felt all of thesebpast emotions resurrect again because of my compassion for my friend, I have thought of Jesus. You see, He has suffered everything that I could ever face in this life. He feels our infirmities. He is moved with compassion towards us. I am a visual learner and when I think of Him feeling for me, a picture paints in my mind.
I see myself grieving, suffering, questioning and frightened. I see myself in a fetal position weeping. I don’t see Jesus shouting from the clouds and saying “Hey Alicia. I just want you to know that I am praying for you today and if you need anything just holler!” I feel so inadequate sometimes that that is all I am able to do. But not Jesus. I see Him climbing up next to me and wrapping His arms around me. I feel Him weeping with me at the effects of a sin filled world that cause such grief in our lives. I see Him hurting with me because He understands and feels my pain. I see Him not trying to answer all my questions but just holding me and letting me talk and be raw with Him. I see Him comforting me and saying to me, “Alicia, I know you are afraid, but I will never leave you. I am right here with you.” What a true and precious friend.
As a friend, I want to represent Jesus in the lives of others. I want to be an encourager, and a sacrificial friend. I don’t want to be a talker. I want to be a doer. I don’t want the fears of my own feelings to keep me from the reality of sharing in the fellowship of suffering. Giving of yourself will always reap blessings in your life. However, even with my best intentions, I will not be able to be all that my friends need. But, I have a Friend that can and will. Because Jesus loves them more than I do. Jesus wants to comfort them like He has me. Jesus knows what they are feeling and grieves with them. Jesus is the friend that will never fail them.
As I pray for my friend Mendy today as she faces some rough days, I am thankful for my friend Jesus who will be there with her always. I am thankful that He is so personal and cares enough to come to me, minister to me, and carry me through the times I am the weakest. What a friend we truly have in Jesus!