Monday, July 23, 2012
Read: Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Do a favor and win a friend forever; nothing can untie that bond. Proverbs 17:17 and 18:19, The Message
Think About: "When you're down and troubled, and you need some loving care and nothing, nothing is going right, close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest night." Four decades ago, singer/songwriter Carole King penned these words to the hit song titled ‘You've Got a Friend.' The lyrics cause me to see Jesus walking with me. He brightens my darkest night. He provides loving care.
Good friends moved away. We don't get to see them very often. They could brighten up a dark night. The friends were part of a group that meets at a coffee shop to talk about the week. Friday afternoons, the group shares stories, challenges, and laughter. If you have been missing from the group for a few Fridays, chances are someone will call to check up on you. When a member of the group isn't there, the group's weather changes. Friends love through all kinds of weather.
Jesus tells his disciples in John 15:15, "I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father." (The Message). Jesus is telling me that being a friend is important. A cursory search for the word "friend" in the Bible reveals it appears over 60 times. The plural appears over 100 times. Being a friend and extending friendship to others builds community in God's kingdom. Friendships can grow in intimacy. Intimacy requires trust to open my heart to let a friend in on most everything in my life. Looking into a loving friend's eyes can help ease a hurting heart. A word doesn't have to be exchanged.
I don't have family close by but some of my Florida friends have become like family. We share holidays and our hearts. Weeks ago, we watched the "Modern Church Family" sitting in Row 4 love each other through all kinds of weather. They took care of each other.
A part of our Florida family was facing bad weather. One of them had to have surgery at a specialized hospital several hours from home. The hospital was too far away to drive back and forth every day. The surgery would require them to be away for several days. They were facing the unknown in the form of a health related storm that had gathered in otherwise routine lives. While listening to the countless details of what the next few days would be like, Buster's name casually came into the conversation. They were anxious about Buster, their pudgy Dalmatian. Who would care for him while they were away? Buster had been rescued from an abusive environment and carried a rather nervous disposition that had not worked well in a kennel setting. I offered to take care of him while they tended to their loved one. "We couldn't ask you to do that!" He was one dog that had his own routine, couldn't walk very far and sometimes refused to eat for a few days in a row. Buster and I won them over. During the next few days, I wrote a schedule for walk times. I practiced his walking route with his owners. Our friends left for the hospital. While they were gone, Buster and I walked the neighborhood without incident. I paid close attention to his demeanor and took cues from him to take him back home before he had a chance to become tired. He didn't eat the first day his family was gone, but then hunger got the best of him. With God's help and the prayers of many, our friend's surgery was a success and health was restored. Buster and I became better acquainted during his owner's absence but he was glad to see them when they returned.
Jesus is my bond that can never be untied. He is there forever to weather every storm.
Pray this Prayer: Holy One, thank you for your love through the cross. Teach me to love in all kinds of weather. Teach me to stick together with old friends and reach out to make new friends so that I can share your good news. Amen.
Written by the St. Luke's Writing Team
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