April 26
(I wrote this last week before learning about our friends' son's death, which I mentioned yesterday.)

Alongside, the word kept reverberating in my mind...
   A dear friend, who stood alongside her son recently as his 28 year old wife died of cancer, now prepares to stand alongside him for his birthday and then wedding anniversary.
  Another friend emailed asking for courage to stand strong alongside her husband in the months ahead as he faces surgery for tongue cancer.
  I look forward to standing alongside our grandson and granddaughter in the coming weeks to celebrate their 5th birthdays.
  After receiving a phone call I drove straight to a friend's house to sit alongside her and listen to a disappointing medical scan report.
 Have you ever stood alongside someone in church as tears dripped down their cheeks and just your arm around their shoulder or a tissue offered let them know someone was there?
 Have you stood alongside a child, a friend, in a courtroom as the judge offered down a verdict?
 To all the people who've been alongside me these past months in hospital rooms, rehab centers, physical therapy appointments, needed car rides and doctors' visit after doctors' visit...
My heart still aches for all the people I saw alone on a similar journey.

The Message translation holds some convincing truths about who is alongside us.

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter.  He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.  He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.  That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good." Romans 8:26-28

"All praise to the God and Father of  our Master, Jesus the Messiah!  Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.  We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort-we get a full measure of that too."  2 Corinthians 1:3-5