I had breakfast today with one of my good friends….. we have been friends for over 35 years. We both love the Lord and have tried to keep him first in our lives. He has helped me and encouraged me many times over these years…. and as a bonus we both like the “Three Stooges”.
I recently read “send me friends who will stand by me when I am tempted to give up.” (Magnificat, Sept. 2020, p. 388)
A friend is more than an acquaintance. A friend is there in times of sorrow and joy. A friend knows your weaknesses and your strengths, yet continues to be your friend.
Many years ago, we needed to travel to Louisville for the funeral of Judy’s dad. At the time, we didn’t have the money to fly. Without knowing it, a group of my friends got together and bought plane tickets for all 12 of us. I’m still touched by their concern and generosity after all these years.
C.S. Lewis has many profound things to say about friendship.
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ,who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
We all need true friends… no exceptions. And if we may be experiencing a lack of friendship at the moment, let’s ask the Lord to send us a friend…someone who the Lord has chosen for us. When the person shows up, let’s make sure we are a friend to them…. that we stand by them when they are tempted.
We recently watched the movie, “Of Men and of Gods” . It centers on seven Trappist monks who were kidnapped and assassinated in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War. In one scene when the pressure is severe as they realize that they are going to lose their life, one monk emotionally challenges another monk with a fierce expletive and walks out…the offended monk quietly reflects to himself…”he’s just tired and doesn’t mean what he said”. I was so impressed by this act of friendship…he was there for his friend, his fellow monk, who was being tempted to give up.
And remember the Lord himself has said “… I have called you friends.” (John 15:15)