Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Embracing the Gift of Friendship ~ Lianna's Testimony

Red-haired Anne of Green Gables put into words what many of us have wondered. Shortly after her arrival at Green Gables, Anne confided to Marilla her dream regarding friendship - she wondered if she would ever find “a bosom friend... a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul”. If you know the story, you know that Anne did find that friend in a girl named Diana. Does Anne’s desire ring true for you as well? It does for me! We were created to be in relationships - first with God, and then with one another.

When Jesus died on the cross, He purchased our salvation from the penalty of sin and provided the way for a relationship with the holy God of the universe. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself...” (2 Corinthians 5:18). God created us for relationship with Him! For those who trust Him as Savior, we have THE GREATEST FRIEND that can ever be found. Before an earthly “bosom friend” or “kindred spirit” will ever satisfy, we must recognize and embrace the cup-overflowing fullness that is found in Christ alone.

The psalmist David knew this to be true (emphasis mine):
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty Rock, my refuge is God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62)

Those words have comforted me often, especially in times when 
friendships seemed to fail me or elude me. Finding our fulfillment, strength, hope, and all that we need in GOD frees us to enjoy human friendship without placing unrealistic expectations on imperfect people to meet our needs. 

Have you ever felt like you were on a roller coaster when human friendships ebbed and flowed, or even brought misunderstanding or hurt? With God our Father, there is no shadow of change (James 1:17)! He is a rock-solid Anchor that will not move, and a Friend that will not fail or forsake us. Ever. The Word of God is full of the blessings that we find in relationship with our heavenly Father, whom we can also call “friend”. He is worth knowing as our dearest friend! 

When our deepest needs are first satisfied in God, we are then free to give and receive in human friendships.
And these human friendships are profoundly significant! “He who walks with the wise grows wise” (Proverbs 13:20)... and “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). The people with whom we spend time will influence who we become. For this reason, the friends we choose as our closest confidants should have qualities that we want to cultivate in our own lives.

Where can such friends be found? For starters, you may have some wonderful friend prospects right within your own family. Don’t overlook your siblings! Friends may come and go, but you will be related to your family as long as this life lasts. Then, pray for God to reveal “kindred spirits” to you from other places as well - this may be at church, in your neighborhood, at a class, or somewhere entirely unexpected! God will provide just who you need, at just the right time. Recognize that there will be friends of the journey, and friends of specific seasons - some friendships will be precious for certain times in your life, and then time or distance will drift your paths apart. Other friends will be ones that will stick through all of life, even if time and space separate you at times.

How can deep, meaningful friendships be cultivated? Friendships that will take you beyond the surface are those whose roots are grounded in a shared love for and delight in God. If the deepest common roots of your friendship are your relationship with God, this is a bond that will hold you together far beyond circumstances alone. You will have more to talk about than a shared class or a recent purchase of clothing. Enduring friendship requires a willingness to be honest and real, and opportunities to share both daily life and the depths of your heart. One of my dearest friendships began when I was 16 - we didn’t know each other well, but she and I agreed to become prayer and accountability partners. This built the foundation of our friendship first on our relationships with God. As the years have passed, we have been able to share each others joys and sorrows, grow to be more honest and real with one another, and enjoy the gift of a sweet friendship for the journey! You might know this friend - her name is Amy. :)

I do not know where this finds you. Do you feel like you are in the wilderness, far from any prospect of a kindred spirit or bosom friend? Or are you enjoying nourishment from a blossoming garden of sweet human friendships? Whatever your friendship situation, there is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. Our heavenly Father is ready to meet your deepest need for companionship, first in Himself... and then through the friendships He will bring in His perfect time, for your good and His glory.

No comments:

Post a Comment