Several weeks ago, I spent my drive home from school trying to figure out how I’d gotten myself into a certain situation. I’d had good intentions, but somehow, things just turned out…wrong. I was frustrated, confused, and in need of a really big cup of coffee. And the thing was, there wasn’t anything I could do to change my situation. I spent the duration of my commute home talking things over with God. I decided what I needed was a fresh perspective: someone who knew me well and could tell me how she saw things.
Believe it or not, I can be a very dramatic person (who’d have thought, huh?) I’ve been dubbed “Drama Queen” by my own mom, and it’s easy for me to invest myself in whatever I do. I could probably get emotionally attached to a piece of toast if I let myself. Well, maybe not. But the point is: whenever I’m in the middle of something, I’ve learned its wise to step back and get advice from other people.
Later that night, I grabbed a blanket, a muffin, a cup of coffee, and my phone and curled up on the front porch glider. I spent the next couple of hours talking through things with my best friend/accountability partner. I listened to her Godly advice and and thanked her for her willingness to invest in my often nutty life. After our conversation, I went inside and let my hands thaw (it was a particularly cold night), and realized that my heart had thawed a little, too.
This is what I want to share today: The value of close friends. These are the people who really, truly know you, and still want you as a part of their lives. They don’t just sit there and listen to your problems, shrug, and say, “I dunno, but good luck!” They don’t listen to you share some trial you’re going through, only to say, “Well, I hope it works out for you!” No, these people go above and beyond the call of casual friendship.
There have been times when I’ve told a close friend what’s on my heart, and as soon as I was finished, she promised to take my situation to the throne of Grace. And there’s power in that; in knowing someone is praying you through your situation. It’s an incredible support system.
When you’re feeling swallowed by darkness in this world that indulges itself in the very things Christ died to free us from, there’s comfort in knowing you have brothers and sisters in Christ who are experiencing the same things as you. You can learn from each other.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17
And that’s a beautiful blessing. As a Christian, I know I’m never, ever alone. My Lord is with me always, protecting me and guiding me. But He’s also given me the gift of friendship: people who offer hands to walk beside you through life, or hugs on your weakest days. People who listen to the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging to send you an encouraging text when you need it most or a quick message reminding you that they’re praying for you. People who completely brighten your day without even realizing it. And even if they knew how much their actions mean to you, they still do it with no expectations of returned favors.
They push you to grow closer to Jesus; they’re not afraid to tell you when you’re out of line or in need of a reality check. They’re able to say, “I’ve been in that situation, and here’s what I learned.” Or if they haven’t experienced what you’re going through, they can say, “I don’t know what to tell you, but I’ll pray God gives you wisdom for this situation.”
Sometimes (and this has been a big one for me over the past year), things slow down enough for you to evaluate where you are in life. And then you realize your childhood is rooted firmly in your past. You can visit it through memories, but there’s no going back: you’re in the adult world for the rest of your life. As daunting as that can seem, it helps to know someone else is facing the same reality. Sometimes people a couple of decades older than you will say, “You think you’re old? Wait ‘til you’re my age!” And while, yes, that does make things a little better (no offense to the previous generation), you’re still older than you’ve ever been in your life. And that’s scary. But if you have friends who are at the same point in life, they’ll get it. They’ll get you.
I’ve had countless moments like the ones mentioned above, and countless reasons to thank God for the relationships He’s brought into my life.
So to all of you who have offered me your friendship over the years; to all of you who have prayed for me, loved me, and encouraged me: I sincerely thank you. Thank you for always being by my side and allowing yourselves to be used by God to challenge me to walk that narrow path that leads to Jesus. You’re deeply appreciated. I pray God will use me to bless your lives like you’ve blessed mine.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” –Philippians 1:3-11 (NIV)
What about you? What are some of the ways God uses friendship to bless you? Make sure you thank God for those people—and thank them, too. I know I don’t do that near often enough. If you don’t have this kind of companionship, ask God for it. Trust me on this: He will provide.
In His love,