Two friends, one room… a knowing look… From across the expanse their eyes locked… two uncertain smiles. Merely polite? Force of habit? Appearances disguised what lay underneath.
Betrayal had left its mark.
Once they were friends. But no longer… Shouldn’t be like this between adult women—two of God’s kids. This kind of drama doesn’t belong here.
It was not my choice, but hers, the one woman reminded herself. Yet, there she stood, powerless to change the circumstances or the outcome.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly… – Proverbs 18:24
Months ago she began making small attempts at starting conversations. The two had little in common, but she did find a few things. Response was minimal. It was obvious they weren’t connecting.
She kept trying anyway.
Then early this summer a mutual acquaintance came to Christ, after a chance encounter involving both women. Wow! Through God’s intervening circumstances they saw each other in a new light.
A bond was formed. Or so she thought.
Like a schoolgirl she thrilled in the new friendship. Another woman in her life to learn about and learn from! Their daughters, too, began discovering common interests and sharing secrets.
Yet now, torn by conflict outside themselves, the one was pulled away by favor born of deceit. And the brief friendship crumbled.
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it… but it was you… my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng. – Psalm 55:12-14
So, as their paths once again crossed and greetings were exchanged, during those two or three seconds time stood still. Knowingly they peered through the windows of each other’s souls. Each woman perceived what the other knew: one of them had chosen to sever the bond.
Yet, in the choice, ‘mid false indifference, she could see a twinge of pain. And they both understood it didn’t have to be this way.
Later when she was all alone, her eyes filled with tears—over a relationship broken. Quickly though, with a long list of errands and meetings to fill the afternoon, she forced the tears back into their reservoirs. Responsibility allowed no time for grief.
Help me, Lord, to trust You, she whispered, even in this undeserved and unexpected heartache.
Hours slipped past. She drove home in time to fix dinner before preparing to rush off again.
During a lull, a few solitary moments were hers alone. She sat in her room where, again, tears surfaced—surprising her at the keen sense of loss.
But I’ve always been this way, she thought. When I find a kindred soul to love, and she responds, I love deeply and I love intensely.
An old devotional book by C.H. Spurgeon sat on her night table beside the bed. She picked it up and found the thoughts corresponding to the day.
Night of Weeping, Joyous Day was the title.
…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5
Decades earlier the English preacher had penned these words:
Come, my heart, begin thy hallelujahs! Weep not all through the night, but wipe thine eyes in anticipation of the morning. These tears are dews which mean us as much good as the sunbeams of the morrow. Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace; and make the vision of His favor more precious. A night of sorrow supplies those shades of the pictures by which the highlights are brought out with distinctness. All is well.
Not only did God see her tears—with inspired words of comfort, He made them disappear.
Later that night after church she glimpsed another friend—one who had also been affected by the same conflict. She had sent her a note in the mail, assuring her of continued friendship and prayers. But she had not yet heard back. In the foyer from opposite ends their eyes locked. Both smiled and waved, then hurried toward each other. These two friends embraced.
Of course I’m still your friend, was the spoken reply.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Not every friendship risked becomes a friendship gained… Not every gift offered is fully accepted or appreciated.
But far better to be the one reaching out, than to be one who withholds and walks away.
(Photo of girls courtesy of Adam Jones; photo of women with clasped hands courtesy of Mathias Klang)