Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And she said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go and wander upon the mountains and bewail my virginity, I and my companions.’”
Judges 11: 37
I And My Companions
Companion: One who accompanies or keeps company with another. One of a matched pair, such as bookends.
“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”
Is there a person in my life who has made my burdens lighter and my journey shorter?
What is my personal definition of the word, “companionship?”
“I suppose there is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one’s self, the very meaning of one’s soul.”
“My friends are my estate.”
Not long ago, a friend emailed me a video entitled, “Friends.” I’m not certain what it was I expected to see but I was in for a delightful surprise.
In the state of Tennessee, here in the United States, is a Sanctuary located on 2700 acres of land where old, retired elephants, find a haven to live out the rest of their lives.
Interestingly, the reporter telling the story, informed viewers, while the elephants arrive one by one from various parts of the country, it doesn’t take long before they “pair up” in bonds of friendship. But, there’s one unique “pair” that developed which surprised the co-founders of this restful habitat. While the elephants are the main inhabitants of the property, stray dogs also wander the land. To the utter surprise of everyone, a dog, they called “Bella,” became the inseparable friend of an elephant named Tara. They kept as close as possible – wandering the fields together. However, one day, Bella, the dog, suffered a severe back injury which left her temporarily paralyzed. The co-founders of the Sanctuary had to keep Bella inside their infirmary where she was immobilized for three weeks. And what of Tara, her elephant pal? Tara came to the infirmary and stood outside, as close as she could get to her ailing friend. One day, the co-founder, decided Bella, the dog, was well enough for him to carry her outside to the place where Tara, the elephant, had planted herself. To everyone’s absolute delight, little Bella began to wag her tail, evidence of her joy at being reunited with her friend. While there were immense differences in appearance, size and habits, an uncommon bond joined these two – a bond we humans call companionship.
In our text for today, after the daughter of Jephthah found out the consequence of her father’s hasty and careless words, she asked for one thing: “That I and my companions spend two months together.” In Hebrew translation, the particular word, “companions,” used in this verse specifically means “female associates.” These were women she confided in. These were women she sought-out for comfort and encouragement.
In a time when her world was caving in, it wasn’t family Jephthah’s daughter wanted to go to, it was her girlfriends. May I say, the same often holds true for many of us today.
How thankful I am that in the midst of this tragic story, we uncover, what I believe to be, one of our heavenly Father’s main reasons for placing this story within the pages of the Holy Scripture.
Not just in this Old Testament story, but also in the New Testament story of Jesus’ life, the bonds that were woven between the lives of women provided solace during heartache; strength during weakness; and faithfulness during times of hopelessness.
This is why, from the story of Jephthah’s daughter, we will spend time looking at the qualities that true female friends bring to their relationships with each other.
And to all the wonderful men who come to the “garden” regularly, there will be some highlights for you, too. For you may more clearly get an illuminated insight into the importance and function of friendship in the lives of the women in your own lives, while at the same time, you may explore ways to become better friends, as well.
In 1866, author Dinah Craik penned these descriptive words, “Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling “safe” with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
May this be the example of companionship we offer to those in our lives – every day. And may this be the lesson we learn from the life of Jephthah’s daughter.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
People don’t do what they’re supposed to do.
Colleagues forget favors.
Sisters are there,
no matter how much time and how
many miles are between you.
A girl friend is never farther away
than needing her can reach.
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your lives will be on the valley’s rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley’s end.
Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you….Or come in and carry you out.
Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters. daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, mothers, g0randmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life!
The world wouldn’t be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.
Every day, we need each other still.”
A Companion’s Prayer
You inhabit my heart, soul and body and those of all my sisters around the world. Be the bond that binds us together through the tough times. Be the Spirit of solidarity at the heart of our global love for You. Make us one in one another through the unity of Your presence. Fill us, fulfill us, and free us from all that hurts and hinders Your free-flowing love within us. Come, and as we journey together, be with us now and forever, Amen.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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