March 11, 2023

Philippians 1:3–6 (NKJV)

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,

5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Kathy and I went to the mall yesterday morning and ran into some wonderful friends we have known for decades. Friends bring back memories of special times in our lives. God places people in our lives for a purpose. As I approach getting old, I have learned those who have come into my life are important and God has used each one to teach me important lessons.

Paul writing to the Philippian church was reminded he did not stand alone in the world. Friends, especially those who belong to the Family of God, help us remember we do not stand alone. Our Christian friends are a support to us in times of pain, sorrow, and trouble in life. They are also a support to us in the great times of life. We are able to share not just the moment with them, but in the memories of life to recall the good and even bad moments and know they were there walking with us.

Paul’s memories were special. Writing to the Philippian church, he was sitting in prison. He did not have them sitting with him, but the memories of their time together brought back a time of love, care, and support. God helped Paul to remember them and he was filled with thanksgiving.

Sometimes in the darkest days of our lives, an emptiness swells up inside of us. We remember we are not alone. Even in those moments, we sit by ourselves, maybe even in the darkness of death we are not alone.

(I am reminded of the time my father was in the emergency room. He had a stroke. I sat there alone with him. (This is a memory of why when I am called, I come.) My father lay unconscious, and the doctor came by and put her hand on me, knowing there was no hope, and the feeling of hopelessness filled my thoughts. I did not call anyone, but I knew had they known would have been there.)

God’s people, the church, our friends, and our spiritual family offer care and support for us. The past three years have been difficult. Family and friends have been separated by a vicious virus, one that is not just manifested in the body, but one that is found in society and even the government.

The psalmist wrote, in Psalm 77:11 “I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”

God is at work even in the darkest days of our lives. We need to remember in these dark times, we need to remember as Paul did while sitting in prison “the works of the Lord.”