I heard an old Simon and Garfunkel song on the oldies radio station the other day. Old Friends. It is an autobiographical song about the songster’s friendship- projecting what it would look like many years down the road, “sitting on a park bench like bookends.” I hadn’t heard this haunting song in a long time and it made me think about a friend of mine.
What is real friendship?
There is a quality found amongst old and dear friends. We know them, they know us. They know our weaknesses, our mistakes and shortcomings and they love us anyway. We know what they are thinking and can often finish one another’s sentences. This sort of friendship doesn’t come in a day. It grows from lengthy conversations and emerges from roots of long relationship.
Deep friend relationships are built on love, mutual interests, possibly family or marital commitments. Likely, there have been times of separation or bumps in that relationship that took a little doing to get over, but the treasured relationship endured, and grew.
Relationships are built on trust and trusting someone is a process. It is a valuable commodity that may eventually be treasured forever or squandered altogether.
A friend in Jesus
Of course, trusting God is a little different than our earthly friendships. It takes an effort on my part, or yours, to really discover and explore that relationship. Some folks have the idea that all one must do is walk down an aisle and accept Jesus as their Savior- and it’s all a done deal.
That’s an honest acknowledgement of faith which is an important step- but it is only a first step in the most wonderful relationship you will ever have. Real friendship comes with closeness, with intimacy, with the funny stories of what you did together yesterday, what you are planning for tomorrow. Real relationship is honest, and close, It means trusting someone whether you totally understand the whole deal or not.
In any abiding friendship, trust is based on what you know about the other. You can base your trust in their past performance, your knowledge of their family, current behavior, their words and statements, the relationships they have with others like you, the goals and plans that they have expressed to you. It may have taken decades to establish that trust, and you can’t imagine life without that bond.
With Jesus we must develop similar roots. He is not that figure on a cross in church or an historical character who shows up in Easter movies. Jesus came and laid down his life so that you and I could have that restored relationship and marvelous friendship with Him that was highjacked in the Garden.
He already loves me and proved it with his life’s blood. The process, then is for me to get to know Him. Really know him. Understand what he expects from my side of this intimate friendship. And to trust him with my heart, my future, with my issues past and present.
Friends through the rough times, too
This has been a rough month for me. Maybe it has been for you as well. It is easy to rejoice and praise Him in the easy times, the good times…the coasting times. But, can you praise Him when life gets ugly and hard… and harder? Can you worship his Lordship when you are disillusioned, exhausted and see no light at the end of your tunnel?
Sadly, circumstances in this life will always be changing. Because of that, it is critical to remember who we are in Jesus. Regardless of my partial understanding of current circumstances I know He will come thru. Nothing is impossible in His Kingdom! He has my family- and yours- in the palm of His hand. The potential was purchased in blood- not only for Salvation but for a rich and powerful, intimate relationship with Him. He is a constant friend to turn to in time of trouble. Proverbs 17:17, Psalm 46:1.
My timing expectations may not always jive with His, and often I don’t have the same point of view my Friend does. I frequently find myself gift-wrapping my worry, and my concerns and shoving them before the throne. All that history allows me to trust and stand on the Testimony, the proven Word of God that Jesus is who He claimed to be and that He CAN do what he claimed he could do. He is my Friend. I believe Him.
This is just a small portion of what He shared for times like these:
2 Corinthians 4:8
2 Chronicles 16:9