As I washed dishes at the sink of our rented home in Crozet, VA, a friend came in through the kitchen door.
“Cindy, it’s good to see you in a house like this.”
As I dried my hands on the dish towel, I smiled a little, because it was the polite thing to do. But I didn’t feel like smiling.
The house like this was a paradise for the kids with its secret spaces and turret tower. But it had problems. And this friend knew it. Asbestos peaked through the linoleum in the kitchen. No air conditioning meant the summer was brutal. Poor plumbing meant sewage backed up in the basement. Lack of insulation meant the crawl space above our daughters’ room was home to yellow jackets.
I asked my friend why she thought a house like this was good.
“Well, you know, being in ministry, it’s good for people to see that you can live like this.”
God used that house
~to teach me about contentment,
~to teach me that provision doesn’t always mean bigger and better,
~to teach me that I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
But he also taught me about kindness through the friends who welcomed our family of eight into their home for a week when the heat got to be too much, and the ones who prayed for a different home for our family, and the ones who cheered when God did provide.
Paul was okay, when he faced loss of reputation, financial hardship, and physical deprivation. He was okay because he had learned the secret of contentment in the classroom of suffering. He was okay because he could do all things through Christ.
Paul was okay, and we were too in that house in Crozet. Yet the kindness of friends who shared in our trouble showed me more about the love of Christ than the one who rejoiced in asbestos, and sewage, and yellow jackets.
That person in your life who’s experiencing something hard … she needs your kindness. In the midst of her trouble, she doesn’t need you to tell her how much shes learning, that all things work together, or even that this will pass. She needs your kind words. Show her kindness.
If you can help bear the financial burden, do it. Show your confidence in Christ’s provision for your own needs by helping her out. Bear one another’s burdens. Share her trouble.
Your help may be just what she needs to see the light of Christ. When trouble dims our vision, sometimes it’s hard to lift our eyes. Do what you can to shine the light of Christ into her life.
You’re Riverside! Welcome! Just like Lydia gathered with her girlfriends by the river in Philippi, we’re gathering here. And I’m so thankful for this growing community of women. I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.