Stan, Rachel & Grant
Two months ago, Mike's grandpa got very sick with cancer and passed away. They live in San Diego. Stan lives in L. A. Mike flew out. Stan drove down for the evening to be with Mike and the family. Then he did the same thing the next night. Stan made the drive a third time on a Saturday in order to attend the funeral. He knew there would be traffic and planned accordingly, but he almost didn't make the service.
Last Tuesday I was sitting in my good friend Rachel's living room when she got a call from a longtime friend whose husband had been involved in a very bad accident at work a few days earlier. He had suddenly gotten worse. Rachel packed a bag and was on her way to San Antonio within a couple of hours. She thought she'd stay two nights, then return home. Five days later she came home. While she was down there, her friend's husband passed away.
One of Grant's good friends moved to Florida a couple years ago. Her family decided to return to Greenville for a visit. While traveling, a car pulled out in front of them. The daddy was killed instantly. The younger of the two daughters was immediately sent to a Shreveport hospital in critical condition. Grant and a friend hopped in a car and drove the three hours to sit at the hospital with their friend. Her sister, Hannah, passed away on Sunday.
I hate grieving. I don't like to be around grief. I don't think anyone does.
But what do we need when we must go through times of intense sadness?
People who will take you out for a drive, hold you while you sob or sit in the waiting room next to you, people to bring you Subway, crack a joke or lend a shoulder.
People to walk beside you during the hardest, most unbearable moments of life.
Friends aren't the ones that don't have to be there.
But they are.
Friends are the ones that love you too much to let you walk through the pain alone. They give up their gas money, their time, their sleep, their energy, their plans. They bear one another's burdens.
Stan and Grant, thank you. I'm so grateful for your example of love. For pointing a lost world to our savior who really is "a friend who sticks closer than a brother." I'm so glad you are my brothers.
Rachel, my friend, I have no doubt that you would willingly go through it again even if you knew beforehand the intensity that trip would entail. You refuse to let anyone mourn alone. Thank you for spending your life searching for ways in which to help carry one another's burdens.
Thank you for your Christlike compassion.
Read John 11 for the whole story.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Then after this he said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again."
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.
So the Jews said,
"See how he loved him!"
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.