Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Friendship (04/04/05)
- TITLE: Fizz or Friend?
By Alice Lewis
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Edna had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. She had been sick for a long time, but still the verdict hit her hard. Not only did she have to deal with the physical symptoms of her disease, the breathlessness and absolute fatigue, but also the emotional impact. What would this mean as far as quality of life was concerned? How would she be able to cope? She spent much time crying and bemoaning her fate.
Doctors are good at helping people deal with the physical aspect of a disease. There are medicines to alleviate the symptoms. There are therapies and training sessions to teach a person to optimize what is left. But dealing with the emotional dimension of a disease is usually left up to the patient himself. Edna was doing her best to deal with it.
The first phase of dealing with a hard blow usually is to cry, let it all out until there are no more tears left. Then there will be time enough to figure out how to organize life to deal with the inevitable.
Edna asked the church for prayer on her behalf.
Early the following week two of her friends called on her to encourage her.
She was propped up on the couch with her nebulizer close by when Janet and Linda came in. After a bit of small talk, lighthearted stuff, stuff meant to cheer her up, Janet said to her, “You know God can heal you of this. All you have to do is figure out why God is punishing you this way. Deal with it and confess it to him. Then he will heal you.”
Such fizz! This is a prime example of vinegar upon soda! Proverbs 25:20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. NIV
Janet and Linda meant well. They meant to encourage her and cheer her up. They came to pray with Edna and share the Word of God. But they failed miserably.
Edna felt robbed by her well-meaning friends.
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did the same thing to Job. They were his friends who came to comfort him in his distress. They were telling Job that if he confessed his sin to God then God would heal him.
Both Janet and Linda as well as Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar thought they were friends. They thought they were doing the right thing by going to someone in distress to try to encourage them. But their ministrations failed miserably.
I once read a newspaper story of a young woman who was dying of cancer. She had the remarkable talent of helping other people in their hurts by her listening heart. The most beautiful thing that was said about her was, “She could listen to their anger,------never needing to talk them out of it.” And through her listening, healing could occur in the hearts and minds of people.
Edna would need a friend like that, someone who could come alongside of her, just to be there, to listen, to feel what she is feeling.
Heal many wounds,
And lift heavy burdens
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