How did you know?

The couple came through a traumatic betrayal and is renegotiating life.  Everything they thought they knew about each other is up in the air.  Streaming nights of anguished rants cascade into pools of exhausted days.  So, when they come for counseling they have no spark, no direction and little ability to talk.
It is in that moment that they hear an alternative that seems like a prescription filled with unpleasant side-effects.  It is the last thing they expect to hear and it sounds like punishment rather than help.  They’re told by their counselor that he has arranged for them to get together with a small group of their friends so they can tell their story.  It is primarily because of their exhaustion that they agree.
So, they go.
There’s no small party atmosphere.  Water is the beverage offered.  There are no snacks.  Their journey to the gathering has moved from hesitancy to stopping on the side of the street to breathe, but they came and discovered the room seemed fuller than they expected.  Four couples arrived before them and have been waiting so when they came in and saw the two empty seats in the living room, they recognized them as if their choices were no longer their own.  So, they sit as if they are slaves. They look down as if they are in front of their superiors.  They fold their legs, arms, hands as if they are naked.
A woman, seated on the couch, smiles her usual, gently inviting smile under serious eyes and offers to pray.  Every head bows.  The words are a soft but expectant plea for wisdom, compassion and hope.  The couple is then invited to speak.  The man sobs.  The woman pulls out tissue after tissue to catch her tears.  They both apologize, but neither really explains.  They just tell what happened.  Silence wraps a healing embrace around the room that some recognize.  Then the community speaks with plain words of assurance and appreciation.  Everyone has come across to the couple.  Hands reach out and then they, themselves, are also on their feet receiving hugs, long-lasting, holdings.
A week later, they have received chances to go out to lunch, phone calls that provide immediate vents for frustrations, even simple notes of support with encouragement to keep at it and not to worry and prayers and prayers again and again.  What they discover is that their friends are actually their friends, but that they bring a depth of resource that was unexpected and clearly was the voice of Jesus.couple-holding-hands
“How did you know that these people would do this,” they ask the counselor the next time they get together.  “This is what believers do,” he said.

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