As we flip our calendars from August, ushering in September, we say farewell to our summer vacations and hello to the season of back-to-school, cooler temperatures of fall and one of the highlights of our home: football. Here’s another bonus of September: it’s also Women’s Friendship Month and I love the gift of friendship!
Recently I was reading in Acts about Paul and how difficult life had become for him. He was beaten, bound with chains, accused by the Jews, imprisoned, taken before councils and Rulers, and then eventually sent to Rome. I imagine by the time Paul boarded the ship to begin his journey to Rome he was a tired man; he’d endured a great deal. As I’m feeling bad for him, this verse jumps out at me: “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, treating Paul with [thoughtful] consideration, allowed him to go to his friends there and be cared for and refreshed” (Acts 27:3 AMP).
I simply adore the fact Julius, the guard in charge, thought enough of Paul to recognize he needed the care and refreshment of his friends. That part of the story just blesses my heart because I’m so grateful for those who recognized when I needed the care and refreshment only a faithful friend could bring. While my journey, or your journey, may never look like Paul’s, it’s still possible for imprisonment to find us.
We might endure a prison of darkness when depression covers us like a thick heavy blanket. Or chained to a past we can’t seem to move away from. We may find ourselves standing before accusers—relentless in voicing their opinions while refusing to hear ours. Life is full of moments when the waters can become a turbulent sea.
That’s when we need our own Julius, the guard in our lives, to recognize our need for care and refreshment. Who is traveling your journey with you? Who is your guard in life that notices when you’re about to break? Who reaches out when you begin drifting away? We all need a guard like Julius, someone willing to stand by us, giving thoughtful consideration to our needs. And we all crave friends who bring care and refreshment to our lives. Proverbs 11:25b promises, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (NIV).
Guarding and Caring always brings:
Kolleen Lucariello is the author of The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Read her heart at www.speakkolleen.com. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Pat, for 34 years. Together they have three grown children, and four beautiful grandchildren. They make their home in Upstate New York.