Acts 4:32–37 ‘Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”)…’ (v36)
Encouragement is made up of perspective* and relationship. Having lived and cared for my first wife, Katey, through her long illness, I’ve subsequently wondered how well I did. I face unwanted ghosts of unanswerable ‘what ifs…?’ that I’ve had to learn to make my peace with.
Perspective is influenced by many factors, both in the moment and long after the focus has passed into history. One challenge with Katey’s untimely death was that the marriage we loved and enjoyed was now no longer accessible, so I could not share my anxieties with her. Loss and grief are the survivor’s struggles and enjoy their own unique path for each of us.
One thing we learn from the challenge of an unwelcome and unwanted intrusion in our life is how relationships are impacted by the perspective we hold about the situation. My recollection is that initially we were a mess, but together, and individually, we discovered a way to live with progressive MS, and even to flourish despite its cruel intent and destructive intrusion.
Lessons learned helped later whilst my mum was in her residential home isolated from family and friends, more acutely during Covid. Daily phone calls and a revival of letter writing with descriptions of daily life encouraged her with a familiarity with the connection she was comfortable with.
Sometimes the pain presents the context for deeper learning and creativity whilst learning to see through a fresh lens and deepen fragile friendships. Barnabas would need to learn the value of perspective in sustaining his friendship with Paul.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER:
1 Sam. 18:1–3; Prov. 18:14–24; 1 Cor. 15:35–58; Gal. 6:1–10.
AN ACTION TO TAKE:
What’s your perspective on your circumstances? Does it have a negative or
positive impact on your mood? Is there a friend who can encourage you at this time?
A PRAYER TO MAKE:
‘Lord, help me to nurture friendships that will introduce constructive,
alternative perspectives on things that lie hidden to my sight. Amen.’
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