Truth Seeker 2022-07
“True friends visit us in prosperity only when invited, but in adversity, they come without invitation.” — Theophrastus
I accidentally read this classic ancient Greek adage and remembered Proverbs 17:17, “A friend is always dear, but a brother is born in trouble.” In life, there are many things we can choose, e.g., work, spouse, address, and education. But there are many things we do not choose, especially some relationships, e.g., colleagues in the same office, parents of spouses, next-door neighbors, and other believers in the church. Amongst these relationships, I suggest it is divinely arranged in a workplace as most people spend most of their waking hours there. So people can easily find themselves spending more time with their colleagues, bosses, clients, etc. than with their wives, husbands, children, and even close friends. The joy and even pain we experience in our personal life will inevitably spill over to our work life one way or the other. If you are facing unexpected adversities in life, to be able to receive loving care and understanding from people other than close relatives and friends is indeed a great gift from above!
Many years ago, when I was working in downtown Toronto. I know a sister in Christ working in a sizeable inter-provincial organization. This sister’s family was facing a complex crisis. As she went to work each day, she thought about the difficulties at home. She tried hard not to allow her sad emotions to affect her work performance. She did not mention any details of her family crisis to her colleagues. As she went to work each day, although outwardly she tried to maintain her professionalism, deep down, she felt very lonely and sad because she didn’t know how to deal with the crisis at home. As a result, she worked mechanically, trying to do her best. For a long time after work, she didn’t want to go home to face the unresolved issues. She would wandered in downtown Toronto until very late at night. Although she was already a Christian at the time and knew how to pray, in her daily work and life, she could find no one with whom she could share her problems. At that time, the church she attended was still relatively new to her, and she had not encountered anyone whom she could trust and share the challenges she was facing. She was also afraid that other people might not understand her family’s problem, and instead of helping, they might push her into a more profound depression.
The emotional turmoil finally took its toll on her – one day, she burst into tears and went straight into the washroom, as she didn’t want to weep at her workstation in such a professional environment. After a good cry, she came out of the washroom and passed by the office of a Christian colleague. As soon as the colleague saw her, she waved her in enthusiastically. Although this sister was not in the mood to chat, she did not want to reject her colleague’s friendliness, so she entered her office. As her colleague saw her swollen eyes and asked what happened, this sister couldn’t bear it any longer and told her the whole story. The Christian colleague listened caringly and attentively and said, “What a coincidence! My family is also facing a tough problem lately, and I am wrestling with how to solve it. Come! Close the door. Let’s lift our problems to our God. Nothing is impossible with Him!”
Since then, this sister started to pray regularly with this colleague in her office during breaks or lunchtime and found that prayer meetings do not have to be only done in the church, for God is present everywhere. There was not much of a change at first. But as they prayed together, it released the weight on their hearts. Thanks are to God. After a while, He answered their prayers and miraculously intervened in this sister’s family crisis, making an uplifting turnaround! Soon after, this colleague also solved the difficulties at home. After this incident, they deeply felt the power and faithfulness of God in answering the united prayers of His children. Knowing that many colleagues were also facing various needs, they started to intercede for others and invited them to join in their prayer time. Unexpectedly, after some time, God answered their persistent prayers and opened a door – together with another Christian colleague, this sister was able to start a Bible study prayer fellowship in the company and, as a result, encouraged many other colleagues and spread the gospel.
Friend: Are you facing adversity in your life right now? Or maybe you know someone in your workplace who is facing a difficult situation in their life? Do you believe there is a God whose loving presence is everywhere and He is all-powerful? He is more than willing to step in and help you in your situation, even in your workplace!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Are you willing to be an uninvited friend in adversity, extend your love and care to those in need in your workplace, and pray to God for them? If you need help witnessing Jesus or sharing the gospel in your workplace, please contact the “Workplace Ministry” staff of the Toronto Short Term Mission Training Center.
May God bless you!