Sweet Friendship

Posted by on Jan 26, 2013 in Articles | 0 comments

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9


It’s been a long month.  Correction – it’s been a long FEW months.  Life has certainly enjoyed tossing everything but the kitchen sink (the rest of the plumbing – yes.  Thankfully, the kitchen sink seems to still be in working order!) at us these past weeks.  Illness (treatable, nothing life-threatening) took over for a few weeks, family issues (who says you stop worrying when your kids are grown???), aging relatives, the normal holiday craziness – you name it, we’ve had it.  (Did I mention the plumbing?)  2012 couldn’t get over soon enough and it seems 2013 is trying our patience as well.  I’ve reached my “God-I-can’t-take-anymore” stage.  A psychiatrist and a few months in a sanitarium started to look pretty appealing early in the week.


I don’t hide my feelings well.  My mother once told me that I’d never be a good at liar because my face is an open door for my emotions.  She always could tell if I was happy, sad, angry, dishonest, etc from the look in my eyes – even when I tried to mask my feelings with a smile.  People who don’t know me well may not pick up on it, but my mother always can.  And, apparently one of my dearest friends can too.


Joyce was there with her usual bright smile Sunday morning as Eric and I walked through the doors into the church.  Eric went to speak with a few of the men.  Joyce hugged me, looked into my face and said “You don’t look like yourself.  What’s wrong?”  All I could do is smile and shake my head.


“Are you alright?”


I shrugged and smiled again.  I managed to croak out “We have so much going on.”


“Eileen, call me tomorrow and let me know which day is right for us to have lunch – on me.”  She hugged me again, gave me a “I-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer” look and went into the sanctuary with her husband.


I lost it and cried for about five minutes in the ladies room before I could even think about going into worship.  All the stuff that had built up over the past weeks came crashing in on me and ripped my emotions to shreds.  I wiped my tears, looked in the mirror at my red, puffy eyes and thought “Valium?  Anyone?”


Friendship is a necessity.  God created Adam for relationship with God.  Then, seeing Adam’s need for human companionship, He created Eve and instructed them to be fruitful and multiply – people weren’t meant to be alone.  Ruth joined her mother-in-law, Naomi, on the journey from Moab to Bethlehem after both women had lost their husbands, their bond of friendship strong and unifying.  King David had Jonathan, a friend who “loved him as his own soul” (I Samuel 18:3).  Even Jesus had close friends when He walked the earth.  His disciples were more than students of the message of God’s love.


“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  (John 15:15)  Jesus gathered his disciples, washed their feet, shared an afternoon of teaching and revelation with them.  He smiled and looked at each one with affection.  “You are my friends.”  A few days later, Jesus took them into the garden and instructed them to pray.  He moved some distance from them, fell on his face before God and pleaded with the Father to “take this cup from him,” (Luke 22:42).


We all need companionship.  We all need someone we can laugh with, cry with, pray with, and receive Godly counsel from.  True friends can be trusted with our deepest thoughts and greatest vulnerability.


Lunch with Joyce that week lifted my spirits.  Her Godly advice and Biblical guidance helped me through the barbed wire of stress and cleared the fog it had created in my heart and mind.  God used her to share His love and mercy for me, to pray with me for His peace and joy.  Sharing with my friend those overwhelming issues eased the tension and helped me to see God’s hand at work and encouraged me to Trust Him to bring about His purpose for my life.  As Proverbs 27:9 says, her Godly friendship is as sweet as perfume and incense!

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