“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17, NIV)
When I was informed that I had breast cancer, I remember the sensation of knowing that there was something inside of me that was doing harm to my body. It was like the cancer became its own living entity, the monster hiding under the bed. In fact, for a few days, it was all I could think about as I got my mind around what this meant for me, my family, and our future.
However, a friend of mine, who came by the house to drop off casseroles and “get well” notes and gifts, could tell that I was struggling with this newfound diagnosis. I shared with my friend my feelings of not being able to outrun whatever this was inside of me, and the fear and doubt it caused.
My friend said, “Sure, you have cancer inside your body, but you also have Christ.” I will never forget those words. They were simple, to the point, and incredibly true. To know that whatever we are facing inside our bodies, or our lives, God is right there living in us, too, ready to protect and care for us from the inside out.
My friend’s words were comforting because I had forgotten that I had someone much stronger and bigger than cancer living within me, and that would be my refuge and my source of strength. But it does not stop there. As John 14 states, the goal is to then share what God has placed inside you with those around you. This is one gift that you want to give away.
Disease and illness may permeate our bodies, but God promises that they cannot permeate our souls and spirits unless we let them. And to help in the fight, Scripture says that God has given us the Holy Spirit, a Friend, to go along on the journey with us and to help us help others make the steps as well.
John talks about a friend whom God has given to us. Who is that friend, and why does that gift mean so much to our relationship with God? God’s goal in this passage is to encourage us to live more like God and to share love with those around us. Why does God offer us a friend to assist us in the process and journey? When the Scripture says that “the godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him,” why is that important for us in drawing close to God through the Holy Spirit?
Make a list of some of your friends today. What qualities do you love most in them? How do you see those qualities in your relationship with God?
Pray: Father and Friend, we cannot understand the grace we have been offered until we have been able to step out of our own shoes and walk in the shoes of others. Help us set down our struggles and take up the gift and blessing of what you offer in Christ. We love you. Amen.
Adapted from The Cure for the Chronic Life by Deanna Favre & Shane Stanford, © 2010 Abingdon Press.