Many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well” (John 6:66–67, esv)?
In life and friendship, there are moments when your presence alone is enough. At difficult times, just being there may be all that’s required to convey to someone your support, loyalty, and belief that God isn’t finished with them—that He’s still in control no matter how bleak their current outlook may seem.
“Never underestimate the beauty and power of a timely word.”
But never underestimate the beauty and power of a timely word, one that’s intended to build another up, to support them in what they’re trying to do. Verbal confirmation is often exceedingly important in conveying your heart’s commitment to a weary soul.
Words truly say something.
Among the times when others in your life could most use a personal word of assurance from you are (1) when they’ve failed and can’t seem to separate their unwise action from their perceived identity now as a failure; (2) when things are changing and they wonder if your devotion to them might be the next thing to prove unstable; (3) when circumstances are sending the wrong message and you need to clarify that this is a situation beyond your control that’s preventing you from doing what you really want—which is being there, with them.
But perhaps at no time can your words of affirmation and assurance convey more than when someone you care about is being rejected by others.
When Jesus reached the point in His ministry where He was needing to say some rather challenging, controversial things about His flesh and His blood, many of the people who’d been crowding around to see the spectacle started walking off, wanting nothing else to do with Him. If needing to defend or agree with His radical views was part of the deal, they were out. And Jesus, in a statement that may sound somewhat surprising, turned to His closest followers and asked if they were leaving Him as well—if they, too, would soon be rejecting Him.
When we see Christ in Scripture, it’s like looking at two sides of a coin. Sometimes we see His deity; sometimes we see His humanity. In this scene from John 6, the Bible shows us Jesus feeling the pain of rejection as a man, the same way we might feel rejection—the same way someone you love might feel it. And while none of the Twelve got up right then and physically left—which they perhaps thought was enough to communicate their answer in the affirmative—at least one of them insisted on making his allegiance verbally plain. “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’” (John 6:68–69). It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Peter wasn’t only staying; he was staying for a stated reason.
And when those you love are being rejected by others at work, by kids at school, or even by parents and members of their own family, they not only need to know from you that you will always be there. They need to hear you say it.
Father, not only is my life dependent on the covenant You’ve made to Your children, but You confirm it to me each day through Your Word, reminding me of Your faithfulness, truth, goodness, and love. Thank You for not making me have to guess what You mean, but for communicating personally and verbally to me through Scripture. I pray that You would speak words of affirmation and encouragement through me to others who need to hear them. In Jesus’ name, amen.