I don’t remember the day exactly, but I remember the time, place and situation. Bob and I were attending an event in New Jersey put on by our good friend Dan Straton. Instead of attending a dinner party that night with some of the attendees, Bob and I decided to go to dinner at a local Italian joint. You know the kind, great food, small place, reasonable prices.
We had just experienced another interesting day. That day was payroll day. We knew we had to meet payroll of $20,000 and that we were woefully short. All our avenues had dried up. We’d used all our back up plans long ago on other payrolls. We expected to get a call that day from the payroll company saying payroll didn’t come through. Instead, no calls, no emails and payroll funded.
How it was funded we’ll never know. We just know it was funded.
As Bob and I sat down for dinner, ordered a bottle of wine, I could tell the weight on Bob’s shoulders was immense. Bob carries a tremendous amount of responsibility. He likes to make sure everyone is taken care of before him. It’s an admirable trait, but one that will kill an entrepreneur.
We poured some wine and toasted/thanked God for making payroll. We kind of chuckled and settled down to a relaxing dinner. It was at that point, the Lord started showing me some stuff. Not in visions, but in the way He talks to me. I can’t explain it, other than I’ve come to know His voice.
“Tell Bob it’s gonna be a tough summer.” At first I didn’t want to share this with my friend. I had hope upon hope, that Bob would not have to go through this journey of death to old beliefs. I was hopeful that my experiences and my partnership with Bob would allow Bob to live through me and my experiences. I foolishly thought, “Well Bob was one of only a handful of people to stay with me through my ordeals, so maybe he won’t have to go through his own.”
I knew that night in the deepest part of my soul, Bob was getting to go through his own hell on earth.
I looked up from the bread and wine, looked at Bob in the eye and said, “It’s going to be a tough summer, but Papa wants you to know He has it all under control.”
Bob’s response was “Okay, so it’s only going to last through the summer? That’s good. I can handle that.”
Except I don’t think God said which summer it would end. Little did I know that before October hit, my friend would be in the hospital.
In hindsight, I did Bob a disservice. I knew at that time what God was showing and telling me. That Bob was going to go through his own wilderness. That God was going to deal with Bob in his own loving style. I knew at that time, the business would change dramatically, Bob would no longer be the provider and that everything Bob wanted and built would be turned upside down.
Little did I know.
As a friend, I want to protect my friends from going through the stuff I had to experience. I don’t want it for my friends, my family, my wife or my children. I wish my experiences would be enough and that I could be their surrogate.
But, God doesn’t work that way. To do that would deprive the ones I love so much from being in a deep intimate relationship with Daddy. Each person has to go through this kind of stuff in their lives. There is no way around it. Sure you can fight it, or fix it yourself, but that only prolongs the time in hell. The way to walk faster is to let God do with you as He must. I fought and spent years in my own hell on earth. Long painful years, that still hurt today.
Bob on the other hand. Well, all I did was love him through it. Sure I would talk with him, tell him what I was seeing and hearing from Papa, but I knew he wouldn’t hear it completely. He had to go through it alone. My role, not to fix it, him or give him a bunch of scripture, but to walk with him through the hell.
I’ve had to do this with my wife, Bob and now I’m watching some very close friends go through some incredibly painful things. Divorce, job loss and a friend of mine who makes so much money that he plays golf 3 times a week, yet is so completely unfulfilled that he is going numb. (Not all wilderness experiences are about being broke.) All going through their own private journey through hell.
The cool thing is to love them through the process. To gently exhibit the fathers love even in the crappy times. To bring laughter to the situation and most of all love. (Did I mention love yet?)
In a Home Depot, fix it yourself world, where we have all the answers there is but a few things we can do for our friends when life hits em right between the eyes.
Cast of judgment. Stop sharing scriptures or Joel Olsteen books. But just be a friend who loves unconditionally. Buy them a cup of coffee, some breakfast or a laugh. Oh and love them, unconditionally. Which means, don’t fix em! Just love.
It is the most wonderful gift a friend can give a friend.