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7-Day Practical Faith Blog: Deepening Relationships with Others

Updated: May 4, 2023

Proverbs 27: 9

Laura and Dave Diehl were relieved that their daughter Becca had survived the unthinkable: Childhood cancer. Despite having her leg amputated, there was hope that Becca could live a normal life.

But there was an insidious side effect. The cancer treatment had afflicted her heart. At the age of 29, while awaiting a heart transplant, Becca passed away.

The Diehls now run an organization called GPSHope (, whose mission is to walk with grieving parents through the suffocating darkness of child-loss, guiding them to a place of light, hope, and purpose.

One of the most striking things the Diehls do for their grieving parents is to say the names of the deceased children on their podcast. When a child's birthday comes around, even many years later, their name is spoken on the podcast. Laura says that one of the most tragic effects of child-loss is that the child's name is no longer spoken, so it holds deep meaning to parents to hear their child's name said aloud by someone else.

This thoughtful service comes from intimate knowledge of suffering parents. In my Wednesday devotional, I wrote how God knows us intimately, knows our preferences, and shows love for us in a customized fashion. Similarly, we should do the same for our friends and for those we serve.

To do this, we need to dig deeper in our relationships. We need to get past the surface to understand a person's history and what makes them tick. Men can have a real problem with this; our relationships tend to be more superficial. Men find it hard to be vulnerable. But I can tell you from experience, if you lead with your own vulnerability, people will often respond with theirs.

By forming deeper relationships, we can better follow the counsel of Proverbs 27: 9.

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

To me, the key word in this verse is "heartfelt." It's easy to dispense advice. But to make it heartfelt, it needs to come from deep in our hearts and touch something deep within the recipient's heart. Such depth comes from intimate knowledge of each other. May we Christians lead and serve by finding ways to be true friends with deep relationships in an era of loneliness, distance, and division.

Readers, reviewers, and video participants of my book and video study, "The Next Thing," have universally commented about the vulnerability and rawness of the content. In it, I walk through my own family's crises in order to prepare you for your crises. "The Next Thing" won a 2023 Living Water Award from the Blue Lake Christian Writers' Conference as runner-up in Nonfiction. Please learn more to see how it can help you by navigating to

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