Closer Bonds

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

photo by Victoria Welc

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, makes and models and seasons.  Ever notice we have friends for every season of our lives?  Childhood ones who help us dream and play pretend.  Teenage friends who influence our thinking and challenge what choices we make.  And then there are grown-up friends, the ones who understand what you are going through and love you no matter what is going on in your life.  I am blessed to have several of these persons in my life and I still have childhood friends though we are separated by miles, we remember the times we shared.  I feel God sends us just the right persons into our lives at just the right times so that we may experience whatever He has planned for us in that span of time.

We may lose friends here and there, but I think it is certainly for reasons we may never see until we go to heaven.  I remember losing my best friend across the street at age 5.  Her name was Wendy and I cried for days after she moved away.  Then there was my best friend Kim who moved to Texas when I was 8.  Christian who moved when we were 12.  It seemed every few years I would lose another close friend as they moved with their families.  There would be sadness for awhile and then a new friend would arrive and all would be well again.  The pain of losing close friends whom you have shared what seems like a lifetime together sure is hard.

Then there are the friends who leave you because they do not match where you are going in life.  I remember my best friend ditched me right as we were starting junior high.  She decided she no longer liked anything about me my hair, my clothes, my make-up and apparently who I was as a person.  I had no warning to this as we had been close for awhile.  Certainly here again, God had a plan in mind.  I met some new friends and those ones I have had since school.  We may not see each other as often as we would like, but we are still connected.  We often cannot see what God may be protecting us from when He takes friends into other directions, but surely it must have been for our own good.

Of course, there are the friends who leave us for other adventures as God calls them home to be with Him.  I had a friend who lived across the street.  She was a down-syndrome child and was older than me.  I was too young to understand everything about Eleanor at the time, but I knew I loved to spend time with her.  I waited patiently everyday for her bus to drop her off so that we could play.  We spent hours just laying on our backs watching the clouds go by trying to tell each other what we saw.  One day we just grew apart and soon after she ended up passing on.  I never will forget those moments I had with her, I thank God for those few short years we had as friends.

Now as I am older, I still need friends, however it seems I need accountability more than anything.  I have since stopped worrying about what everyone else thinks of me and the junior high days are gone.  I have learned to trust God to send me the right people for my life even if at first they don’t seem to like me much first at.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, we must learn the value of the people in our lives.  Now some may be closer than others but as the Body of Christ we must learn to play well with others.  I totally trust God to protect me if I make wrong choices for friends and He has separated me from some who may have led me astray.

Friends are something everyone needs and my heart breaks for those who do not have any.  I  also feel much compassion for those who still feel alone even when they have lots of friends so it seems, but in reality, they are just being used for some reason or another.  I witness terrible friendships everywhere and it just stings when a person is a friend to someone until they walk away or step out of the room.  As I have grown in my relationship with Christ, I try so very hard to not participate when others are talking about someone.  I would not want that to happen to me and so I try not to get sucked into back talk and gossip.  Now as I have always been honest here, I fail sometimes, after all I am human and have many faults, however the more I desire not to be someone like that, the easier it is to walk away or stop the conversation.

Everyone of us have feelings and they get hurt or even destroyed sometimes which is why I think God brings so many people in and out of our lives.  He gives us endless opportunities to make new friends and keep the old.  Sometimes I think it is just for testing and perhaps a friend who quickly passes through may have just been an angel.  I cannot pretend to know what God is up to, yet I feel in my spirit this thread of truth:  God exposes us to different people and personalities so that may grow closer as the Body of Christ begins to form.  If we only had one group of friends for our entire life, we would never be able to fit in anywhere else.  Cherish the friendships you have had and the ones currently active in your life.  When God calls His bride, I assure you more friends will be present than ever before and we will need to know how to interact so we can be effective as a living example for Christ.

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