I have never been very good at memorizing Bible verses. I don’t even have a good excuse; I just don’t seem to retain the information. I felt this way when studying information for tests in school. However, when I was still in elementary school I loved Proverbs. They were short; they were practical; and on top of it all, I could memorize the verses.
The first verse I memorized was Proverbs 3:5,6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
The second verse I memorized was Proverbs 17:17. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is always there to help.”
At the time, it meant that my friends were supposed to like me, and I them. Elementary school relationships were never that complex. But as I have grown older, I have discovered that I am almost introverted when it comes to my friends. That’s not to say that I won’t be friends with certain people, but what it does mean is that I have a lot of friends/acquaintances (people that I love to hang out with and share things with on occasion, but never really get to know them nor they me), and very few friends/brothers and sisters. These friends are people that I consider as close to me as family. They are the people that I want to live life with and that I know will be my support when I need it most.
That is who I think about when I read this verse now. “A friend loves at all times and a brother is always there to help.” I know that when I call one of my friends, they will be there to support me and to pray with me. They are there to celebrate my joys and mourn with me in my sadness. My friends are my brothers and sisters. They are a blessings and so much more than I could ever have asked for.
I remember praying for friends when I first moved to Orlando. I was newly married, living in a new town, without a job, and my family was in one direction and my closest friend was about the same distance in the other direction. I was lonely. I loved my husband and he was (and is) my best friend, but I was longing for some female companionship to share life with. I wanted one of my girlfriends to live in the same town! I did have people who I counted as friends, but no one I felt that I could confide in or simply live life together with. There was no one at the same point in their lives as Kyle and I.
A little over a year after moving to Orlando, God answered my prayer. He sent a couple into our lives that shared commonalities with both Kyle and I, including where we were in life (recent college grads, newly married, early career, looking toward kids…they were about 6 months ahead of us on that one). As much as we are different, we are alike and because, I believe that it was God’s providence, we became best friends in a matter of months.
There is a reason that the Bible talks about friendship. God has made us to be relational beings. We seek community naturally according to his divine design. Our relationships and our friendships exist to reflect the relationships that God has planned for us with him. We are called to not only worship and adore God, but to be friends with him. He is our everlasting confidant. He keeps secrets better than anyone I have ever met and he is always there right when you need him, even when your phone is dead. It is this desire for relationship with us that God give us people in our lives that we can count as best friends.
Today I was reminded just how dear those friendships are to me, so for that, I am grateful. Eternally grateful.