“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up…A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)
Friend to Friend
Looking out my den window I noticed two of my neighbors puttering slowly down the street. Ernestine, with her bald head snuggled in a woolen cap, held tightly to Patti’s supporting arm. Patti’s chestnut hair, just two inches long, shone like a victor’s crown of a cancer survivor.
The previous year, Patti discovered she had breast cancer. For three months she endured chemotherapy followed by seven weeks of radiation. As God would have it, her final treatment fell on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, she had much to be thankful for—a full life, a loving husband, and Ernestine Nevils, her new next-door neighbor who had moved in two years before.
During Patti’s cancer treatment, Ernestine was right by her side, an extension of Jesus’ hands and feet providing love, encouragement, and support. One year after her final radiation treatment, Patti was given the opportunity to return the kindness to Ernestine. A trip to the doctor revealed that Ernestine had lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. Now Patti was the nurturer. She took Ernestine to her first chemotherapy session and explained what to expect. She told Ernestine what to eat, where to have a wig made, and how to deal with depression.
God has not called us to go through life alone. All through the Bible he brought people together for mutual encouragement and support. One day the angel, Gabriel, gave Mary some incredible news, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35 NIV).
And what were the next words out of Gabriel’s holy mouth? “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:36-37 NIV).
Does it seem odd to you that right after telling Mary the startling news about her unusual pregnancy, he told her Elizabeth, her relative and friend, was is in a similar situation? Not to me. God knew Mary would need a friend.
Immediately, Mary packed her bags and went to see Elizabeth. When she walked into her cousin’s home, Elizabeth prophesied over her, affirmed her, and encouraged her. Not only that, Mary saw by example what to expect with her own labor and delivery.
Oh sister, God knows that we need godly girlfriends to walk alongside us during difficult days. It’s even better when that friend has experienced a similar struggle in her own life. As Paul wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Mary had Elizabeth.
Ruth had Naomi.
Paul had Barnabas.
Shadrack had Meshack and Abednego.
Our key verse today tells us one reason having a godly friend is so important: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up…A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV).
A cord of three strands. Me, you, and Jesus. That’s a strong cord right there.
As I watched Patti and Ernestine make their way down the street that chilly November day, I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving for Girlfriends in God… friends with whom we can be His hands and feet when one is too weak to walk unassisted, His strong arm when a burden is too heavy to bear alone, and His voice when a friend has forgotten the words to the song in her heart. That’s a strong cord right there.
Dear Lord, I thank you that You designed women to live in relationship with each other. Open my eyes to see someone who needs a dose of Your love today and give me the wisdom to know how to be an extension of Your grace.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Who is one woman who has been a strong strand in your cord? Consider writing her an email of thanks today.
Honor her today by clicking on comment below and saying, “I am thankful for ________.
The best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Is there someone you know who is struggling with life that God is nudging you to help?
More from the Girlfriends
Sharon’s re-released and updated version of her best-selling book and Bible study guide, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others are hot off the press. They include new content, including a chapter on the power of a woman’s words to her adult children…it’s complicated! Perfect for your women’s ministry’s next Bible study!
Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. Learn how to
- exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
- recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
- overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
- tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
- stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold of the power of the Holy Spirit.
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.