As you may know already, my dad passed away this past spring. The months following his death were a long road of trying to figure life out. My posts here, here, and here were part of my journey of working through my grief and answering those essential questions about life.
I think the death of a loved one does that--makes a person remember the big questions about life. Is what I am doing right now worthwhile? When I look back on my life, what regrets will I have? How do who I'm becoming and what I'm doing have eternal significance? Is it even possible to have eternal significance in life?
I think that there are so many other times in life when we are similarly confronted with these types of questions. At these important times in life, it's really natural to ask these types of questions. And these important times happen all throughout a person's life. They happen at the birth of a child, the anticipation of marriage, the process of divorce, a diagnosis of cancer or other illness, the moment the nest is finally empty, or the day you retire.
Because I'm so terrible at thinking on my feet, I've gotten in the habit of periodically observing and analyzing where my friends are at in life. Are they anticipating a big life change in the near future? Is something coming up that might cause them to ask certain questions about life and God? Because if I can think about these things ahead of time, I can also start praying about them too. I can pray that God would prepare my heart to be a friend to them at this time. I can prayerfully consider how I might respond when these questions come up. I can think about what stories I have about how God has intercepted my life in similar circumstances. I can think about stories from the Bible where God met people in similar circumstances. And I can pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare their hearts to be ready to hear those stories.
So that's my question for you for this week. What part of the life cycle are your friends at right now? What life changes are they anticipating or expecting? How can you be thinking and praying right now to be there for them in that moment?
If you want to think through these questions on a deeper level, there's a longer list available here.