Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Scotty Smith, the gift of good friends




     For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philem. 1:7)
     Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Eccles. 4:9-12)
     Dear Lord Jesus, I can’t imagine how storms can be navigated, burdens borne, and hardships handled without the company of a few good friends. I praise you today for the gift of friendship—for the joy, encouragement, and refreshment you give me through good friends.
     When we walk through difficult seasons we’re sometimes inclined to think, “No one can possibly understand what I’m going through; no one can begin to relate to my feelings and confusion; no one’s a mess like me.” Those are the times when it’s easy to withdraw into isolation, fall into the pit of condemnation, and reach for some ill-chosen medication. That’s when the gift of long-standing friends becomes especially precious.
     Lord Jesus, I praise you for the gift of hearing friends say these two words, “Me too.” I praise you for friends who know how to “refresh the hearts of the saints”—including this saint. I praise you for friends who help me tap into the sufficiency of your grace, the steadfastness of your love, and the bigger story you’re always writing.
     I praise you for friends who share their lives and not just their gospel. I praise you for friends who offer tears and not just their answers. I praise you for friends who give life-giving wisdom and not mess-fixing formulas.
     Lord Jesus, good friends turn my heart heavenward. They remind me that the foundation and fountain of all good friendship is found in you. I praise you for befriending us in the gospel. How humbling it is to hear you say to us, “I no longer call you servants… I call you friends” (John 15:15). What wondrous love is this, indeed? “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). So very Amen I pray, in your most glorious and gracious name.