The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller
Looking someone in the eyes right now does not necessarily tell you the story of what it took for them to arrive in front of you. Nor does it tell you about their struggles or baggage. As believers we are called to meet them where they are and love them as they are. Sometimes, it is their brokenness and their willingness to share their challenges that allows them to shine the light that lets so many others see the way to Him. Sometimes they are as lost and confused as the next person, but a seed of goodness in their heart opens up underneath the warmth of what was left by the last person they encountered. She passed along the comfort of the care to the next person that had previously been given to her because she remembered how good it felt. He was patient and kind because someone was that way towards him yesterday. One sitting on the up side of down and the other standing on the down side of up. Both reckoned with the emotion of the basement yet pursuing the sensation of the penthouse. Neither understanding the blessings of balance that they received and then gave in those short moments. How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! 2 It is like the finest oils poured on the head, sweet-smelling oils flowing down to cover the beard, Flowing down the beard of Aaron, flowing down the collar of his robe. 3 It is like the gentle rain of Mount Hermon that falls on the hills of Zion. Yes, from this place, the Eternal spoke the command, from there He gave His blessing—life forever. (Psalm 133 – VOICE)
The freedom ride on the path that leads to the cross was never intended to be walked alone. God sends many souls our way to meet us at specific points along our journey. Some are fleeting spirits that dust us with a blessing and then quickly move on. Some are there for a longer season while others are stalwart companions up the hills, through the curves, down in the valleys, around the bends, in the creeks, and on the mountaintops. Through life, friends may come and go, but to have a lifelong, close, personal friendship is truly a great blessing. A true friendship that stands the test of trials and time is rare. As we focus on Him and love them deeply and closely, God delivers balance in our lives with these blessings; these lifelong friends. So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-10 (MSG) As Celine Dion says in Because You Loved Me: You were my strength when I was weak. You were my voice when I couldn’t speak. You were my eyes when I couldn’t see. You saw the best there was in me. Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach. You gave me faith ‘coz you believed. I’m everything I am because you loved me.
Most weekends are not complete without a thought-provoking conversation with an intimate friend who has walked many miles, hand-in-hand, with me on my journey. This weekend was no different. We exchanged honorable greetings, shared the week’s trials and triumphs, and released our momentary embrace with the utmost love and care.
We met as two wandering souls and have endured as two kindred spirits. Through all that life has brought us, (hard conversations, encouraging words, thankful praises, as well as sleepless nights full of prayer) we have remained attached at the hips and always there for one another. We have grown up as we have grown together.
The Bible gives us a great example of the generational impact an intimate friendship can have. 1 Samuel chapters 18-20 tells us a story of two people who had a special fondness for one another. They were closer than many siblings, confiding and trusting each other. They were friends who shared hopes and dreams. They remained close, even when separated, through the good times and the bad. Through thick and thin, neither one deserted the other. 18 1By the time David had finished speaking to Saul, Saul’s son Jonathan was bound to David in friendship, and Jonathan loved David as he loved himself… 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as he loved himself. 4 He took off the robe he wore and gave it to David, and also his armor, sword, bow, and belt. 20 41And then they kissed one another and wept, friend over friend, David weeping especially hard. 42 Jonathan said, “Go in peace! The two of us have vowed friendship in God’s name, saying, ‘God will be the bond between me and you, and between my children and your children forever!’” “For all those times you stood by me; for all the truth that you made me see; for all the joy you brought to my life; for all the wrong that you made right; for every dream you made come true; for all the love I found in you; I’ll be forever thankful baby. You’re the one who held me up; never let me fall. You’re the one who saw me through, through it all.” The commentary in chapter 19 of the VOICE translation tells us, “In the friendship between Jonathan and David, Jonathan stands to lose everything he has if David becomes king, yet he betrays family and ambition by befriending him. These two young men make a pact to protect and love each other in life; and if something should happen to Jonathan, David agrees to honor Jonathan’s descendants out of the love he bears for Jonathan. Later that promise results in David elevating one of Jonathan’s sons to the king’s table.”
On our journey, we have been through a great many things. Our experience is an ambition of giving that causes each to receive in abundance. Through it all, we have learned that shared pain is half the pain and shared joy is twice the joy. We encourage each other as friends to have:
- A spirit of courage
- A heart of perseverance
- A timeless bond and
- An unfailing love
She is my David. I want her to know that she has a faithful Jonathan beside her, to remember that her Lord is with her, and to believe that her Savior lives in her. She is in a battle of epic proportion. As she faces this behemoth Goliath and the wrath of Saul, my prayer for her is that she always remembers to pray and never forgets who she is or whose she is. May she feel the favor God has offered and have faith to know He will continue to see her through. May she continue to fight the good fight in the face of evil, doing good despite the chips being down. His people are with her. His prayer warriors are around her. She is not alone. She is loved. She is my friend. You gave me wings and made me fly. You touched my hand, I could touch the sky. I lost my faith, you gave it back to me. You said no star was out of reach. You stood by me and I stood tall. I had your love. I had it all. I’m grateful for each day you gave me. Maybe I don’t know that much, but I know this much is true: I was blessed because I was loved by you.
And so I ask you: Who is your David? Are you a faithful Jonathan? Who is walking along side you? When facing your Goliath, who do you turn to? Are you on this path alone? Where are you looking for those God-honoring relationships? What are your best and most beautiful things? Can you feel them with your heart? Be the love! 8 People who won’t settle down, wandering hither and yon, are like restless birds, flitting to and fro. 9 Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. 10 Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends and run home to your family when things get rough; better a nearby friend than a distant family. Proverbs 27:8-10 (MSG)