Friend and Physician

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. ~Helen Keller

Jesus had friends, good, strong, devout friends. And yet, at the end of his life, they deserted him.

Paul, too, had friends. Some he considered as sons, and others he gained mutual strength and benefit from. One of those friends was Luke.

In Acts 27, Paul embarked on a voyage, not of his choosing but of his destiny. Much like Jesus, he headed to his life’s trial to appear before the ruling authorities. In Paul’s case, he was on his way to Caesar.

But unlike Jesus, Paul didn’t get to walk across town and be tried. He had to make a long journey by ship.

A trip like no other.

The men on board suffered at least two weeks of an extreme storm. After fourteen days of no food and being battered by the waves, Paul’s life was in danger again. Fearing shipwreck, the soldiers threatened to kill the prisoners. Finally, the ship ran aground and broke apart. Luke and Paul swam to safety and most certainly began treating sick and wounded men once they reached the island.

After a few months on Malta, they boarded another ship and headed to Rome. Luke accompanied Paul and stayed with him the two years that Paul was a prisoner in Rome.

Wow. What a friend.

Sickness, beatings, a bad reputation, traveling in want and need, storms and shipwreck, political trials and imprisonment.

My own efforts at friendship pale in comparison.

I forget to call or text. I think about taking over a meal when I hear of a bad time, but the food never makes it out of the pantry. I say we should get together, and then another year passes. A crisis happens, and I cringe at the wrinkle it puts in my schedule.

Lord, teach me to be a better friend. I want to be a friend like Luke.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

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