July 8, 2014 - Friendship
By Rose McCormick Brandon
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:13-15, NIV).
"The contents herein express what I feel but perhaps cannot put into words," penned Marilyn, my Bible college roommate on the flyleaf of a Hallmark edition of "To Be a Friend." We shared the ups and downs of youthful romances, the stress of term papers, and hair disasters with laughter, tears, and prayer. We meant to keep in touch after graduation and did for a while, but Marilyn married and moved to the East Coast and I stayed in the big city, single for a few more years.
I also lost contact with another college friend, Jan. Then one harried Sunday morning, slipping late into the church pew with my husband and three children, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"Hi, remember me?"
Jan, her husband, and their three children had moved to town. With ease, our friendship picked up where it had left off — lots of laughing, shopping, swimming — but we also discovered a shared passion for ministry to women and worked together in community outreach for several years.
Solomon compared the sweetness of friendship to ointment and perfume (Proverbs 27:9). We are blessed when we make friends with people who share our love for Jesus and pray with us, people who can be glad about our successes and sad for our losses. Even among Christians, these deeper friendships are rare. When we find them, we should treasure them.
"A friend is worth all the hazards we can run," wrote poet Edward Young. I can't regret a moment spent cultivating friendships, but I do regret letting friends like Marilyn slip out of reach.
When my dear friend Grace died quickly of ovarian cancer, I cried. She knew me well, and to be known well by a Christian friend touches my soul. She loved me, and I her, in spite of our shortcomings. Sometimes when I'm spiritually discouraged I envision her peering over heaven's walls cheering me on to the finish line as she would if still here.
Robert Browning, basking in the sunshine of friendship, wrote, "What a thing friendship is, world without end!"
We have a Friend whose lavish love overlooks our shortcomings, understands our wordless thoughts, and keeps our confidences. Let's not lose touch with Him.
— Rose McCormick Brandon and husband Doug live in Caledonia, Ontario. She is the author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference (writingfromtheheart.webs.com).
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