This weekend I had one of those weekends. I stopped. I took time. I spent time with one of God's greatest blessings. - my friends. I have been blessed with incredible friends throughout my life. This weekend I went away with a set of girlfriends I have had for almost 20 years. We have endured a lifetime journey together, full of the joy of children's successes, full of some parents' deaths, full of illnesses, full of divorces and weddings, full of disappointments and laughter. We have endured life - with each other. I have been truly blessed. I have many wonderful friends such as these, who have seen me through many of my life's greatest journeys. Some are close, some are afar, all are dear to my heart. Yet, I realized, that there are always days, always situations, when I truly only have ONE friend who has been by my side for every trial, every triumph.
It helps bring my sights to my greatest friend of all - the person who has always been there for me in each tribulation, in every joy, every tear, every dream. Jesus has been the ONLY one there for me every day, every moment. I have great friends to share much of my life with. Jesus shares ALL my life. There have been times in my life when it has been lonely. Although I have incredible friends there are times when I would feel very alone - during my illness, struggling with relationships, alone with my thoughts. Those are the times I realized I have a friend that sits by me, holds my hand when I need him most, hugs me and always has my best interest in mind.
God provides us wonderful friends. It is important to appreciate the time with our earthly friends. They are to be cherished, such as the ones I had the chance to be with this weekend. I have other friends that I might see less often yet love dearly. Other friends I get to see weekly during Bible study. There are friends I keep in touch with at work. Those that I share thoughts with online. Yet, in the middle of the night when I struggle with thoughts of things to do, during the day when I am burdened with stress, I try to remember the friend I have 24/7, the friend that will always guide me in the right direction, the friend that gives me a book of guidance, the Bible, our dear Lord.
I don't think there is anything that expresses our Lord's friendship with us better than the wonderful hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". Below is the second stanza from this beautiful hymn:
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
The Dear Lord gives us people in our lives to help us here on earth, like all the wonderful friends that I have. I say "thank you" to all of them, and to Him, for all the blessings they have given me. I feel very rich. Yet, we always need to remember that whenever we need a friend, no matter the situation, the time of day, the burden we carry, or the joy that we share, we can take it to Jesus. There is no greater friend.
"A friend loves at all times. . . ." (NIV) Proverbs 17:17