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Pain, Relationships, Words of Endurance

by Dave Dravecky



No one is wise enough to live alone, nor good enough nor strong enough. God has made us to a large degree dependent upon each other. From our brethren we can learn how to do things and sometimes also we can learn how not to do them….Next to God Himself we need each other most. We are His sheep and it is our nature to live with the flock. And too, it might be well to remember that should we for a moment lose sight of the Shepherd we only have to go where His flock is to find Him again. The Shepherd always stays with His flock.
A.W. Tozer
Born After Midnight



The school of pain and suffering teaches many lessons, and one rarely finds a student who has not learned something very important – even life-changing – about God, life, or relationships. These powerful, vivid lessons often leave an indelible mark on the character of their students. For me, one of the powerful lessons of pain and suffering had to do with relationships.



Before my cancer and the eventual amputation of my arm, I had friends, but I didn’t understand how important those relationships really were. Sure, I enjoyed my friends. It was nice to have friends. But it didn’t seem to met hat I needed those relationships. Boy did that change!



I learned that you cannot – and I mean, cannot – get through pain and suffering on your own. You eventually come to the end of yourself, and you need another person there to stand beside you and lift you up. To have a friend who is willing to make the personal sacrifice to be with you so that you are not alone is a powerful thing. When I was struggling, it was really important for me to know that my close friends were willing to sacrifice for me. Their sacrifice was a demonstration of God’s love for me.



I also learned that in the midst of pain and suffering you need another person whom you trust and with whom you can share your struggles and your pain. To have a friend who doesn’t come with an agenda, but who comes purely to be an encouragement is an amazing thing. When, in the midst of my pain, I could connect with another human being and share what was on my heart, it helped me recognize that God still loved and cared for me. It helped me realize that I could rely on God even in the midst of my suffering.



These lessons still affect me today. I have a tendency to be a loner, but I know how important good relationships are in my life, so building relationships that last is an important focus of my life. The memories of what other did for me encourage me to be the kind of friend that others were to me. They help me remember that when someone has a need, it’s important to be there – not to find an answer for the problem or to resolve the struggle, but to be there as a friend and an encouragement.



As you read this, I hope for two things. First, that you will recognize how very important (and difficult) relationships are in the midst of pain and suffering. Second, that the practical helps in this issue will enable you to successfully navigate the inevitable rocky spots. A.W. Tozer was absolutely right when he wrote that we can’t do it alone. We are dependent on one another, and “next to God Himself, we need each other most.”

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