“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17
This week’s inspiration stems from a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with a friend. We go back to 2005, when we were both working in the same department. We met while trying to put up a hanging folder rack on a cubicle; between the years of degrees and previous work experience, you would think the both of us could have figured it out. That rack gave us the blues, Fam, until we finally realized it was missing some key hardware pieces.
Engineers…gotta love us.
But from that, a friendship was born that is still going on and strong. We’ve laughed together, cried together, ranted like Yosemite Sam and then some together. He is my “brother from another mother”, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.
God has gifted me with other friends, three who are like my brother and are part of my core, the “circle of four”. Dating back to college in one case, work in another, and an online writing group for the third, these women and men are my go-to’s for prayer, advice, laughter, crying shoulders, and classic venting sessions. I look at them and all the years we’ve known each other, and I’m reminded of the theme song from “The Golden Girls” (yes, I’m dating myself and I don’t care. Y’all know that show was and still is hilarious. I’m pretty sure some of you have a Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, or Rose in your crew, too):
“Thank you for being a friend / traveled down the road and back again / Your heart is true / You’re a pal and a confidant /
And if you threw a party / Invited everyone you knew / You would see the biggest gift would be from me / And the card attached would say /
‘Thank you for being a friend‘”
I am forever grateful to the Lord for our paths crossing, and our backgrounds not being so different that true bonds of friendship — of kinship — couldn’t be formed. And I can confidently say that we are lifetime friends; they couldn’t get rid of me even if they tried. 😉
When the bond of friendship is true and strong, there is no judgment or condemnation. There is love at all times, like today’s verse says, a love that won’t enable us to do what we know is wrong and harmful. Friends- especially the life-timers- don’t hype each other up to fail and fall. They give us the proverbial (and maybe even literal) knock upside the head when we’re being total numb chucks about a situation, a person, or our own selves. They don’t rejoice and tear us down when we ignore their advice and jump feet first into some good old foolishness. They pull us back and give us the “business” (i.e., fusses like an old school grandmother with the classic “I told you so!”), but also helps us straighten what we’ve messed up. Friends are always ready to fight our battles with us, to stand in the gap and agree that no weapon formed against us (or them) will prosper.
Lord, thank You for the gift that are friends. I call them a gift because in this world, they are not promised, and should be treated as the treasures they are. 😊
Still, as much as they are a gifted treasure, we can’t forget there is one Friend we all have. Whether it’s early in the morning or late in the midnight hour, He is always available; He neither slumbers nor sleeps. He’s better than Dr. Frasier Crane from that old TV show, in that we can find no better listener. He heals our bodies and mends our hearts like the surgeon of all surgeons. He doesn’t judge, doesn’t talk about us behind our backs. Rather, He is with the Father constantly interceding for us when the Accuser brings up every selfish and sinful thing we’ve done, said, or even thought. He’s there each time, saying “My blood covered that.”
His presence is so comforting when we’re grieving, or feeling lonely, or exhausted. He doesn’t allow us to think poorly of ourselves and sends us confirmation of who we are to Him and the Father through the Word, song, inspirational thought, and of course our friends.
He gives us joy in all situations (something that forever baffles the Enemy) and demonstrates His power and authority to work all things for our good.
As for fighting our battles for us, lookee here: nobody gets down like our Friend. He can just speak and demons tremble, devils flee. He tells us to “be still and know” that the Lord is God, and makes our enemies behave. For example, think of that co-worker or supervisor who seemed set against you and Who you represent. How many of us can testify to the Lord’s goodness of fixing that work situation and changing people’s hearts and minds when we called on Him? Or what about the problem that seemed to pass from generation to generation- how many can testify to how He broke that curse and set people free? Show of hands, please! 😊
He conquered death and the grave by sacrificing His life for us, so we all should know He can conquer anything. Is there anything too hard for Him?
Of course, I’m talking about Jesus Christ, the One who knows and loves us anyway. He’s traveled down the road with us and back again, never giving up on us. He is our eternity Friend, who truly loves at all times, and our elder Brother who stands up for us to protect us. He does more than we can ever think or imagine.
He is the ultimate BFF; now who can beat that?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for gifting us with friends. Thank You even more for the ultimate Friend in Jesus Christ. May we treat all of them as the treasures they are. Amen.