Proverbs 17:17 says that, “A friend loves always and a brother is born for for times of adversity”. Today I was reminded again, of how blessed I am with friends—not mere “acquaintances”, but genuine friends. These are people that know most of the bad things about me and still consider me their friends. These are the same men and women that I have borrowed money from (to keep this ministry going when times are tough); they are those that donate to my ministry, pray for me, encourage me, believe in my dream, appreciate my presence and give me courage to hold on when I am inclined to let go.
We all need friends! And yet I do know some souls that have very few friends. Some of these souls are my friends that got married and slowly pulled away from all their friends and clung only to their spouses. Sad. That’s not God’s plan for marriage and is certainly never encouraged in the Bible. Frankly, I would challenge anyone to find an example in scripture of a man or woman getting married and then turning their back on their friends—-there are no examples! Friendship and friendship love are celebrated and examples are easily found with David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Jesus and John, Barnabas and Silas, and so forth.
But the boys that now live with me often are saddened about their lack of friends. More than once each has come to me crying and asking me to “adopt a new son so that they can have a friend”. It’s heart breaking, of course, that some folks don’t have friends, but I remind the boys that if they want friends, they have to be friends. I am not the perfect friend, but I do invest in my friends and I do attempt to maintain friendship. Those two things are essential! My willingness to give my time and also my determination to do what is required to maintain communication and a bond is required—it takes work. Friendships are not common among lazy or selfish folks. You have to give and work at friendship.
Please do not assume that I am suggesting that I am the ideal friend—-far from it! But despite my faults I have been blessed with friends — I consider myself “wealthy”, beyond most of those I know, in terms of those who care about me despite my faults.
My point? I see the face of God in the face of my friends (I would list the names, but there are many, and the ones I leave off will never let me forget i!) Friends: You have no idea how the small compliments, your belief in what I am doing, your support of me when I have been hurt and wanted to give up, and your forgiveness when I was less than what I wanted to be has kept me going! You have served, in a vicarious way, as the voice, smile and touch of God. Thank you.
I hope that I have been the same to the many I have met will here in France and as I return to our camp. You and I are the body of Jesus Christ——He has no other means to manifest Himself on this planet. May He use this body—my own— to God’s glory, and may He take full advantage of my gifts and talents to bring honor and glory to God. Amen.