How often have you longed to see a smile on a loved one’s face after they’ve endured months of difficult trials? It is always tough to watch a friend or family member deal with loss, suffering, physical pain, financial hardship, or even painful relationship issues such as divorce or separation. We know we can’t take away their pain or circumstances, even though we wish we could. What can we do as fellow Christians to help them regain their joy through the journey as they walk through these hard times?

     In this passage of Scripture, Proverbs 17:17, “ A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity ”, we are reminded that difficulty is present in everyone’s lives at varying times, but God still shares the same message… it is through His love in the hands, feet and hearts of His people that He chooses to bless others in and through their circumstances of trial.

He desires for us to love deeply at all times – whether things seem bleak, or if there is cause for celebration and joy. We are to represent Him and be present as His light at all times in the lives of our neighbors, coworkers, friends, family and others.

     God gave us a mighty gift within the Bible. He actually speaks to our hearts and minds through His Words of Truth. It is our job to read His Holy Word, pray, and reflect upon what God is trying to teach us in the passages. Ultimately, we need to ask our Heavenly Father to share with us in what ways we can apply the lessons we learn in the Bible to our daily lives. We can ask Him to allow His Word to empower us and equip us to be His hands and feet among the people and offer them His Words of love today. What deeds of kindness, compassion and love has God been speaking to your heart to share with others this week?

     Many people value the kindness and understanding they see in others who take the time to be “present” in their lives during the hard times. A friend loves like a brother … Let us pray that God will enlighten our hearts and minds through the reading of His Word and bless us with the opportunities to represent Him by serving others in His Name and for His glory. There are many ways to be a blessing. If you wish to be one who is eager to help others find JOY for the journey, consider this list of suggestions. You’re sure to come up with many more ideas on your own. Please pass them along to others who would also like to serve their brothers and sisters in Christ in this way.

1. Sit with them at the hospital and pray with them when a loved one is ill or going through surgery.

2. Support them by attending funerals for their lost loved ones. Offer assistance in the details if they need help with choosing the music for the service, audio/visual, contacting funeral home or church, and other tasks that may seem too heavy to bear alone right now.

3. Bring them a meal, bake them a dessert, deliver paper products for easy clean up and disposal, or offer them a gift card to get groceries, gas or fast food delivered after the loss of a loved one, having a baby, going through Chemo, or undergoing surgery.

4. Remind them gently of God’s promises in His Word and show them the passages of Scripture in the Bible so they can mark them for later reflection. Create a mini prayer journal or personal devotional journal and add your favorite Scripture references for them to review later and be blessed by.

5. Remember to help them celebrate special moments in their lives or in the lives of their children or parents such as their birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, new jobs, birth of a baby, moving, and retirement.

People only get to have us in their lives for a specific season. It is your job to determine what God’s role for you is in their lives during this season. Stop and consider the people God has in your immediate circles in life right now. How much does He desire you to do for these people? How can your unique gifts, love, encouragement, understanding, or gift of time bless them in the Name of Jesus?