In the day of my trouble I call upon YOU, for you answer me. (Psalm 86:7, ESV)
(Psalm 86:7, ESV)
Friend to Friend
This past August my girlfriend dropped her freshman daughter off at college—a full 9-hour drive away—and returned home with all the jumbled emotions typical of a mother: excitement, longing…and trepidation.
Then the phone calls began.
“Mommy, I am lonely.” “I am eating all by myself in the dining hall.” “My classes are so far away—uphill, both ways!” “My shower drain is clogged.” “My roommate decided to move out…”
With each call home, my girlfriend’s heart twisted more and more. She tried to remain upbeat and encouraging when on the phone with her girl, but when the call ended, both her daughter and my friend were in tears, 9 hours apart.
I happen to live nearby this college and offered to meet up with my girlfriend’s daughter to see if I could be of help. Both mom and daughter were thrilled.
On my way to pick up this young lady, my heart was grieving for both parties. Those “emergency” phone calls must be just heartbreaking! It’s so very difficult to be a mom whose child is distraught, and they can’t physically be there for them. Likewise, for an introverted, freshman girl, stepping onto a large campus with thousands of students can be nothing less than daunting.
As I was thinking about all this, the Lord brought to mind a lesson I had come to learn a couple decades ago. You see, back then, whenever life would throw me a curve ball, I’d immediately seek a human sounding board. If my husband was home, I’d talk it out with him; if not, I had a half-dozen girlfriends to call and pour out all my emotions to. And while my human-venting session relieved some tension, it was only temporary. Immediately I’d find myself mentally recounting the details of the situation all over again, building up to the same worrisome emotions I had before.
While reading through The Book of Psalms I began to notice that David had a well-worn habit of calling upon the Lord in times of trouble—not his friend, Jonathan, nor his band of ragtag followers, nor his royal advisors. Furthermore, in the oft memorized passage from Jeremiah, I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…,” this next verse is the one that suddenly stood out to me: “Then you will CALL ON ME and come and pray to me, and I WILL HEAR YOU (Jeremiah 29:12, ESV).”
God began to show me that the first number I need to dial is J-E-S-U-S, not the phone number of a friend or family member. Once I began to practice this “Throne-first policy” and it became more of a knee-jerk reaction for me, I began to experience real peace, hope, and confidence that not only were my prayers being heard, but they were also setting in motion a heavenly angelic force which was being sent out in response to my prayer (Daniel 10:12)—and quite possibly, before I even prayed a single word (Psalm 139:4)!
That day, I shared the lesson the Holy Spirit had been so kind to teach me with my girlfriend’s daughter. I encouraged her to first call upon the Lord, to “complain” to Him, to ask for His intervention, and then take action steps to improve her situation with the wisdom, clarity, and new-found courage the Lord would provide. A light bulb moment happened as this God-loving, freshman college girl wrapped her hands around a new spiritual tool that day.
And guess what? My girlfriend found she was not longer getting “crisis” calls, but instead was receiving “situation reports”, as in “here is what happened, and this is what God led me to do about it.”
Listen, I love the emotional support of Jesus loving people. I have just altered the sequence of who I run to first. And sometimes, now, I don’t even feel the need to vent to a human, because I know He’s got the entire situation in His capable hands!
Lord, I confess that I often choose the comfort of people over the Comforter. It can seem more humanly satisfying, in the heat of the moment, to vent to someone who can nod, hug, and audibly comment on my situation. Yet this I know: Not one of my well-meaning friends or family members can do what you can do for me—alter the course of the future, grant favor, give wisdom, provide self-control, and bless me with a peace that transcends all understanding! For this I am deeply grateful.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think back to the last time you had frustrating, troubling, or even devastating news to share. Who did you call on first? Did you go to the Throne or to your phone?
Commit to yourself, and to the Lord, that you will always pour out your distressing emotions upon Him first, seeking His intervention BEFORE you look to share the news with another. Loving friends and family are a wonderful gift, but they are no match for our Savior!
More from the Girlfriends
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Lisa Morrone, PT is a physical therapist, professor, author of six books, radio guest and event speaker who encourages people to “Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake.” Visit Lisa’s website for more information and to sign up to receive her informative and life-breeding “Monday Morning Health Tips”!