I once read that people who fall into the ocean at night often become disoriented. In the chaos and the panic that follows, they actually begin to swim toward the bottom of the ocean instead of to the surface. Some do not discover their error until it is too late.
In my work as a pastor and in Stephen Ministry, I have discovered that people in crisis sometimes exhibit behavior that is the equivalent of "swimming to the bottom". They stop eating properly; they don't sleep regularly; they stop exercising; they cut themselves off from their family, and friends; they separate themselves from the source of their inspiration such as scripture or going to church. They stop answering the phone. As a result their crisis spirals downward with an ever increasing speed.
Jesus once told a parable entitled "The Persistent Friend". The persistent friend was a person who would not stop knocking at the door of his friend no matter how long he was ignored or told to go away.
A persistent friend during a time of crisis is a friend who is willing to intrude; who will speak the truth in love; who can put their own ego and needs behind them and put their friend's needs first; who has a thick skin; whose love triumphs over any slight or insult; someone who will keep knocking though the door is shut; who will walk with you in a crisis; who will not let you forget that you are not alone.
Such a friend is truly God's gift.
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