“Girrrl, I haven’t seen you in a month of Sundays!”
I stared back with a blank expression on my face. What in Sam Hill was my friend talking about? Does she go to my church now? Was I supposed to be seeing her on Sundays? I didn’t get it.
Raised eyebrows and widened eyes looked back at me.
“What? What’s wrong?” my friend asked.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” I confessed.
“Haven’t you ever heard that expression before?” she asked.
“Ummm … no. Is it some obscure Southern thing that my parents never told me about?”
“Girl, no. It just means I haven’t seen you in a long time! It’s an old expression.”
“Ohhhhhhh. Well, I’ll have to add that to my repertoire then. Right along with ‘Slow as molasses in January’ and ‘For Pete’s sake’ and ‘Sure ‘nough bet I do ‘magine'” (okay, so that last one is just a family thing).
After the initial verbal hurdle, we had a wonderful conversation, and she proceeded to tell me that she and her family had finally found a church home after searching for quite a while.
I was truly glad to hear this and was thankful that God had shown her family where they should worship each week. Her young son is even enjoying his new Sunday School class and told his mom, “I’m making good friends, Mom!” That warmed my heart.
Now, this brief “month of Sundays” misunderstanding could have been a “ha ha, Laura’s an idiot” moment and wedged itself between us and created a crack in our friendship. Believe me … I’ve gone there many a time before and gotten my feelings hurt and allowed something as trivial as this to mar plenty a friendships in my life. If you’re completely honest, I know you can identify and can recall some dumb misunderstandings that have hurt your friendships, too.
But this time, thankfully, I think I had on my “big girl pants” (perhaps not technically part of the armor of God … but maybe more of a mindset). And what could have been divisive, instead only brought us closer together. Closer in understanding each other. Closer in laughing together at a trivial situation. And closer as two sisters in Christ who are encouraging one another in the faith.
Funny how seemingly insignificant exchanges like that can go either way. But you know what? I think Satan LOOOOVES to use “insignificant” things in a very significant, and detrimental, way in order to keep us from experiencing true friendship and fellowship. And truth.
He doesn’t want us to be united and to encourage each other and to love our brothers and sisters. He wants us divided and defeated. He wants us to be confused and drawn apart by bits as small as “a month of Sundays.”
Think I’m making that up? Check out what Jesus says about the devil in John 8:44:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
And then in 1 Peter 5:8-9, Peter warns:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
So, basically Satan is in the business of separation and keeping us away from Truth. But praise be to God that our heavenly Father is in the business of bringing us together and shining the Light on every confusing situation:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Furthermore, He has given us the armor of God that we can wear for every life situation—even “a month of Sundays”!!—where Satan is present:
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.