The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult and we get lonely. Sometimes we may get discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to ‘keep going.’ "
~By Henry T. Blackaby & Richard Blackaby ~
from their devotional book, Experiencing God
I have been blessed by God to be used as a friend time and time again. Some of my deepest friendships have been God-ordained. I think of a friend who I met as everyone was encouraging her to leave her unfaithful spouse and she chose the hard road of staying. God brought us together, and forged the friendship in that lonely time for her. Or the friendship He cemented in seminary with a "Fire Me Up" dinner (so named because we had it on the day she was fired from a job). We've had many "fire me up" moments since then, but the friendship grew in that adversity. There are the friends that I've walked beside on an all-too-familiar path of miscarriage. There are the friends that were birthed by our common "out-of-placeness" as ex-patriots in a foreign land. So many hurting moments that led to deeper-than-acquaintance relationships. The moments led to sisterhood in Christ--friends because of His grace.
There is something incredibly sacred and intimate about being led into a person's life when they are most vulnerable. To be asked by God to hold that time as precious and treasured when the other person may not be able to reciprocate at all. Those moments are fragile and fleeting, but make indelible marks.
How do I know that? Because God has also brought God-ordained friendships to me when I was most vulnerable. It was the person who was able to see the sacred in my mess that God was able to use as a friend.
We should be aware of His prompting to come alongside someone who is hurting. Sometimes He only asks us to minister to the immediate, to salve the open wound. But sometimes He asks us to go to the deeper place, the place of feeling the pain and coming out the other side changed alongside our new friend. When someone is nearing the point of abandoning the journey, are you aware when God says, "Finish the journey with them?" It is an honor to be that friend.
Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Proverbs 17:17 (The Message)
Father, help me to be aware of those who need a Friend and not just an acquaintance or kind word. Help me to be the faithful friend to go through the hurt when necessary. And, when it is I that is willing to give up the journey, help me to embrace the friends You send. Amen.
This week's hostess is Bonnie at Ink It Blog. Please join us there for other reflections on friendship.