We were sitting at a pizza parlor in a beautiful beach town in North Maui. Our skin was sun-kissed and salty from a day of hiking, strawberry picking, and exploring. We ordered a tantalizing kalua pork flatbread and laughed as we waited for our meal. In a conversational lull, my friend looked up at me and asked, “How are you actually doing?” Cameron had been my best friend for almost eight years. Through college, rediscovering our faith and the turbulence of young adulthood, she had remained like a sister to me. Before audible words could leave my mouth, I immediately began to cry.
The past year had been one of the most trying to date. A dear family member had passed away unexpectedly, friendships had ended abruptly, and infidelity and addiction marred a once-promising romantic relationship. There had been many joys and victories, but the proximity of these cumulative events had left my hope bruised and my heart hurting.
Like a reflex, she grabbed my hand and began to cry with me. The poor waiter silently and empathetically slid our pizza in the middle of our small puddle of tears. As I looked into Cameron’s welling eyes, I felt embarrassed, vulnerable, and very loved. She could have said, “It will be ok,” and you know what? She probably would have been right. Instead, despite a healthy dose of hope, she was moved by my pain and simply uttered, “I am not going to leave you.”
Cameron looked a lot like Jesus to me at that moment. Upon embracing His friend Lazarus’ mourning sisters, Jesus paused to weep with them in their pain. Jesus knew how the story would end; He would raise Lazarus from the dead! Yet, He found it more important to first sit with His friends and weep with them. He did not rush into restoration, just as Cameron did not rush me into future thinking. The irony is that her weeping with me expedited much of my healing. I now know she, like Jesus, is a friend for all seasons. Jesus can see past your present pain into His plans to redeem and restore. Yet, He loves you too much to bypass the chance to weep with you. Allow Him in.
If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or harm to another, please reach out to the National Suicide Hotline for anonymous counsel and resources: 988. If you’d like to connect with a counselor or pray with a pastor at Calvary, please contact our confidential 24/7 Minister On-Call line: 818-991-8040.