I think sometimes we have a tendency to take friendships for granted. Friends are enjoyable to be around, to hang out with, to go places with, to party with. Notice, I said “with,” friends are with us in much of what we do. Being with someone means they are sharing some of the joys of your life. They are experiencing what you are experiencing, sharing what you encounter.
Friendships generally develop naturally. You discover someone has the same likes, same dreams, same life circumstances as you, and a closeness just seems to happen. Sometimes though, friendships occur spontaneous and instantaneous. You can’t explain it, but you are drawn to each other, it’s almost as if the spirit in you has connected with the spirit in the other, and inextricably you are bonded in friendship. However a friendship develops, there’s no doubt it is a good thing to have close friendships. They have the ability to sustain us, support us, encourage us, and give us the sense that we are not alone in the world around us.
I’m thinking about friendships today because I’ve been playing host to two friends from the New Orleans area this week. You have seen and heard of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ida. They both came to stay with me to ride out the storm. One is my best friend in all the world, Hadley Edwards. The other is a friend I haven’t seen in quite some time and only usually text with occasionally. I’m so blessed to have them in my life, and I’m overjoyed that I could offer them shelter and a place to ride out the storm that was occurring where they reside. It seems to me, this is what friends do for one another. You spend time with each other developing a bond, and when life interjects drama, or tragedy, the cords of that friendship tighten and you are there for each other. When my beloved Antoine died, Hadley was right there for me. He has continued to check on me, to listen to my hurts and grief, to provide support. Most importantly, Hadley knows the value of just being present for me. He doesn’t have to say it, I feel it because of the closeness of our friendship.
As I’ve been thinking about the value of friendship, it has me wondering what my friendships are worth? Its like the Visa commercial says, for all of the stuff we want and desire, there’s Visa, but for certain other things, they’re priceless. This is what a friendship is, it’s priceless. There can be no value attached to it, because true friendship is worth more than can be estimated.
In Proverbs 17:17 we’re told, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Isn’t this true? True friends love us when we are up, and when we’re down. They are there in the good and bad times. They stick with us through thick and thin. A true friend will never let you down. You become like family. We can’t pick our family, even though sometimes we might wish we could. But, we can and do pick our friends, and in that choosing of friends, we find true connection.
The writer of Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:” I’ve found in my friendships, true friends will work along side of you and with you. You don’t even have to ask, they seem to know what needs to be done and they pitch in and help without you even asking. And of course, the old saying, “many hands make short work,” rings true. Especially when its a friend who works with you. Whatever you’re doing, it passes so quickly because they shared the work with you.
1 Peter 4:8-10 states, “8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” My friend Hadley is a true friend. As a true friend he has been with me when I was right and when I was wrong. And when I have been wrong, of which there are multitudes of examples, he has never shied away from helping me to see those areas I need to correct. But of course, he does it in the gentlest of ways, like a true friend does. Whatever is his, he offers to me, and likewise me to him. We couldn’t be closer if we were brothers. He has played such an integral part in my life and I give thanks to God constantly for his friendship.
My prayer for you is that you cherish your friends and their friendship. They are some of the best part of this life we live. They bring us joy and love in untold ways. I think of my friend often, even though we are not geographically close. I’m feeling privileged that I can offer him shelter from the storm he’s going through. There is nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. I have to believe God made us for these kinds of relationships, for in them we see glimpses of the Divine. True friends, true love always gives us a window through which we see traces of who God is.
Since my friend is here this week, he has agreed to preach for us this Sunday. You won’t want to miss it. He’s going to be talking about the storms of our lives and how we can make it through. Please plan to be in worship with us in person on Sunday morning at 10:30, or online. You will not want to miss the Holy Spirit inspired word Hadley is bringing for all of us.
Blessings and Peace,