Behind every good man there’s a good woman so goes the saying, or is it behind every good woman there’s a good man?  Whichever way, I know I have a good man behind me, or maybe I should say beside me. As someone once said, God made woman from a rib out of the side of Adam, not his head to be above him or his feet to be below him but his side to be equal to him. Therefore, I’ll say I have a good man beside me.

Last week is just one example. I entered some Flower arrangements in the Floral Art Section at the Driffield show.  There’s a lot of time involved in planning, preparing, and executing the exhibits, and then lots of tidying up and clearing away afterwards, not forgetting the transporting to and from the show itself.  I could not achieve all I do without a good supportive man by my side.

Talking with a friend of mine last week, it was the anniversary of her husband’s death.  I said how she must miss him. She said yes and added that she misses sharing life. This made me think how great it is to share life.

I thought about how all of us have lost someone over the years. After the death or divorce of a partner some of us find another to share our life with, however others remain on their own. It can be a choice or just how things work out. My mother has been a widow for almost 60 years. It’s a long time to be on one’s own.  Some people never marry, due again to choice or circumstances. One thing is for certain, that is we need to appreciate those around us and not take each other for granted. Our mum or dad won’t always be around.  Sisters and brothers move away, likewise children grow up and go their own ways.

To share life with loved ones, family or friends is a real blessing.  To have a companion to walk beside through the ups and downs of life is a bonus. Someone who believes in us, supports, encourages, and enables us to be ourselves and reach our potential is invaluable. We all need someone to be there for us.

In his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, it is believed that John Bunyan created his character Mr Greatheart, upon Barnabas, who was one of the most significant early Christians in the New Testament. Mr Greatheart was the companion, defender, guide, encourager, and friend of all weaker pilgrims on the King’s Highway. The most outstanding characteristic of Barnabas is that of being an encourager. The word translated “encouragement” in the New Testament is usually the same word used for the Holy Spirit – “Comforter”, or “one called alongside to help.”

The more we learn about Barnabas, the more we realise we can thank him for most of the New Testament. God used his relationship with Paul at one point, and with Mark at another, to keep these two men going when either might have failed.

When Paul first arrived in Jerusalem after his conversion, naturally the local Christians were rather suspicious of him. He had been totally against Christians and took great pleasure in their persecution, so how could they be sure that he was now on their side? They were reluctant to welcome him thinking his story was a trick to capture more Christians. It was Barnabas who was brave enough and willing to risk his life, to meet with Paul. Barnabas saw for himself that Paul’s conversion was real and so he then convinced  the others  that  their former  enemy  was now  a  vibrant believer in Jesus.

We can only wonder what might have happened to Paul had it not been for Barnabas, befriending and encouraging him.

It was Barnabas who encouraged Mark to go with him and Paul on their first missionary journey to Antioch. Although there were disagreements at times, Barnabas continued to believe in Mark and his patient encouragement paid off, when Mark developed an effective ministry in his own right.

Therefore, we can see from Barnabas how important it is to be a true friend who always encourages and sees the best in someone. We should strive to be like him, because after all, we all need encouragement at times.

Let’s remember life is designed for companionship, not isolation, for intimacy not loneliness. Some people prefer to be alone, however, we are here on earth to serve God and others, and we can not do that on our own. In the book of Ecclesiastes Ch 4 we read how two are better than one, because if one falls down, his friend can help him up. We pity the one without a friend as they have no one to pick them up. Also, if two lie down together they will keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? One can be overpowered but two together can defend themselves.  Finally, we read how a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So let us give thanks to God for those who are always there for us, remembering also that Jesus and his Spirit are our greatest companions for all times.

God bless


Eileen Clarkson 27/7/2023