Read: Romans 16
God arranges people for His children when they are in great need. Sometimes it may be in a country where you are a foreigner, yet God gives you a friend who knows your needs and helps you when you are in real need. God knows all your troubles. He arranges and uses even your enemies to help you.
Some people open their homes to refresh others who do not have a permanent residence or is a foreigner. When Paul set out for his missionary journey, God opened the heart of Lydia, the woman who sold purple to pay attention to what Paul said. She and her family believed and were baptised in the name of Jesus. Lydia’s home was always open for Paul and fellow Christians to come and stay (Acts 16:14-15). When Paul and Silas came out of prison, they returned to Lydia’s home where they met with brothers and sisters and encouraged them (Acts 16:40).
Paul mentions Philemon as a friend who refreshed his soul (Philem. 1:7). In times of difficulty, Philemon was a great comfort to Paul. A person who is willing to have a listening ear can refresh one’s soul. Barnabas was a great friend to Paul. He introduced Paul to Jesus’ disciples, though Paul (formerly known as Saul) was a persecutor of Christians. He accompanied Paul in the missionary journeys. Aquila and Priscilla risked their own lives to protect Paul the apostle (Rom. 16:3). They laboured together in tent-making and also helped in spreading the gospel with Paul each Sabbath day as he reasoned with the Jews and Greeks and encouraged them to place their trust in Christ for salvation (Acts 18:1-4).
The Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Prov. 27:17). They encourage us and refresh us in times of our real trouble. God has promised that “He will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” (Jer. 31:25). Are we a refreshing friend to others as Christ is to us?