A friend loves at all times, a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

On Monday, I took my sixth chemo out of a total of eight. Chemo doesn’t get any easier, even though I know more about what to expect and how to manage the side effects. Although fear of the unknown is not as great, there is also the fear of the known. I now know what the next week or 10 days will hold – all-over body pain and bone pain, nausea, mouth sores, and other unpleasant side effects that combine to make some hard days.

That’s why I really appreciate friends who have walked closely with me on this journey. We all have different pain limits when it comes to physical pain, and I think the same is true of emotional pain when we have a friend who is in a season of suffering. But walking with others through pain is exactly what God calls us to do in our relationships.

If you have a friend who is dealing with a chronic or serious illness, who is in a difficult marriage or a messy divorce, who has a prodigal child, or who is struggling in some area of life, the truth is that they will most likely struggle in this area for a while. Issues like this don’t usually go away in a week, they will last for a season – months, maybe years.

And they, like me, need people who will walk with them for the duration.

So even if watching suffering scares you, lean in for your friend. The first few weeks after a crisis begins are often filled with people calling, texting, bringing food, and sharing love. But as time passes, people forget. I am extremely fortunate to have friends and family who have not forgotten us. Our church family has continued to care for our physical needs throughout chemo. I have friends who text me weekly.

But I do know that everyone does not have this kind of support group. My journey will likely last into the summer. Others often face years of cancer treatments. If you have a friend in a long and difficult season, don’t forget her after a few weeks. Continue to call, continue to text, continue to take food, continue to offer help.

Just because the season of suffering is long doesn’t mean it gets easier. Brothers and sisters in Christ are given to us to walk with us through adversity. Be that kind of friend.

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My friend Rachel Lundy has written a free 30-day devotional called Hope for the Hard Days. Rachel asked me to write an endorsement for her, which I was thrilled to do. This is a great resource for anyone in a difficult season. You can read more about the book and download your free copy here.

I have an article over at The Kingdom Life Now about how the message of Easter impacts our lives in 2015. You can find it here.

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