I recently attended an out of town wedding. It was a joyous occasion as we gathered to celebrate the excitement of love and the promise of a new life together. The simple but elegant decorations complemented the picture-perfect venue along a river in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. The weather was beautiful. The ceremony was beautiful. The bride was beautiful! It was a memorable event filled with hope and happiness.
While at the wedding, I had the opportunity to reconnect with one of my very best friends, Greg. It was Greg’s oldest daughter who got married. Greg is one of the very few people in my life that I would call a “true” friend. We have known each other for many years. Almost all those years we have been separated by approximately 8,000 miles. Greg lives in East Africa. Greg and I have laughed together, traveled together, cried together, played golf together, hurt together, prayed together, and been through some really tough times together. The amazing thing about our friendship is that no matter how far away we are or how long it has been since we’ve had meaningful conversation, we can always pick up where we left off. It’s as though the time and distance apart has been irrelevant to our relationship. Greg is a “true” friend who has cheered me on, challenged me, and changed me (for the better) because of our relationship.
William Shakespeare defined a friend as, “one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” I love that definition, it defines my friendship with Greg. We all need people like that in our lives.
When I think about my “true” friends, I think of only a few names. I won’t name them here, but I will tell you one who is on my list and that should be on your list. Jesus. Jesus said,
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV).
These weren’t just words that Jesus spoke. Days later He would put those words into action as He laid down His life so that each of us would have a way back to our Creator, His Father, God.
When we choose to enter a relationship with Jesus and become a Christ Follower, we gain a “true” friend. The amazing thing about our relationship with Jesus is that no matter how far away we may be or how long it has been since we’ve had meaningful conversation with Him, we can always pick up where we left off! Just like my friend Greg, Jesus has been with me through the good and the bad. And I believe He will walk through life with you, whatever may come! Jesus is there to cheer you on, challenge you, and change you for the better!
Even if it has been a while, reach out to Jesus. You just might be amazed at how a “true” friend responds!