December 3rd

Friends for Life

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV 

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 NKJV 

As I hung up the phone with Kevin, I reflected on how strategic our meeting was eighteen years ago.  During two grueling months of boot camp training at the Naval Academy (“Plebe Summer”) in 1985, I developed a friendship with Kevin and ended up rooming with him for our first year.  He was feisty and adventurous, and had a sense of humor that helped keep the rest of 33rd company sane during that challenging year. 

We had some memorable moments, all of which I cherish.  One time I had aggravated Kevin to the point that he grabbed his rifle (w/ bayonet) and chased me around the room yelling either in tongues or Indonesian!  Perhaps the most memorable was when I lost his car keys on the ski slopes.  It was a cold night in January and we were about 150 miles from the Academy with neither a spare key nor a locksmith.  We had to hitch a ride with some long-haired strangers who were unusually willing to help us out.  I’ll never forget the cigarette smoke billowing out of the car as they opened the door to let us in – it was quite a trip, but we were thankful for those guys!  We arrived a half an hour past curfew, but it was Kevin, ironically, who received the punishment of “restriction” for the following several months.   

The most important aspect of our friendship was that we both loved God.  Despite our weaknesses and occasional setbacks, we managed to encourage one another in our faith.  Whether it was having a quiet time, praying or going to the weekly fellowship meeting, we helped keep each other on track with the Lord.  After graduation we went our separate ways in the Navy, yet stayed in touch sporadically.   

When I talked to Kevin the other day on the phone, some of his excitement rubbed off on me as he described his nearing departure to Indonesia to serve as a missionary.  It was refreshing to hear from him and it was just what I needed on that particular day.  He was encouraging me in my ministry.  Who would have thought back in ’85 that so many years later we’d both be serving God, and still be encouraging one another?  God knew it from the beginning and he strategically put us together. 

I share that story to encourage you to consider your current or past friendships and use the opportunities you have to encourage your friends in their relationships with God.  It’s likely that the people in your life right now are there for good reasons and are part of God’s strategic plans for you and them.  Perhaps you may not have many friends right now.  If that’s the case, you can ask God to send a special friend into your life who will help you in your walk with God and vice versa.  Good friends are truly precious gifts from the Lord.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of friendship.  Please show me how to be a better friend to those people in my life. Please fill me with your love for people and teach me how to serve others in love.  Thank you for how you bring people into my life in your perfect timing.  I trust you with my future and my hopes and dreams.  If I lack friends right now, Lord, please bring some special people into my life that I can connect with.  Thank you, Lord!  I praise you both now and forever, Amen!”