"... he loved him as he loved himself."
1 Samuel 20:17b (NIV)
I am a little behind on my devotions. I get two in my inbox each day. But when I was sick over the last two weeks, I became lazy. I am now going back to read them. But God knew that. He knows everything! This one is specific for today.
As I read Facebook, I see my sister struggling. Suffering. Grieving! We are all grieving in our own way. Sunday was my parents anniversary. They would have been married 46 years. My mom told me last night that she cried all day and finally she called her sister who came over and comforted her. I had a Saturday where I cried all day (I'm sure I mentioned that here). We all grieve. It's good to cry. But it's important to have someone to lift you up. Jesus will lift you up but I mean someone physically...like a friend.
Over the last four months I have met a few new friends that God purposed in my life because we are walking the same road. Maryann and Maria are closer than people I have known for twenty years. We share a common bond. I don't know what I would do without them.
Denise and Bonnie are my mentors. They know exactly what to say, when to say it and how to say it with Truth to back their words. I don't know what I would do without them.
Laura and Tina are my blog friends. We have never met but they encourage me so. Tina and I are Facebook friends and we comment on each others blog. Laura sends me notes and encouraging emails. I don't know what I would do without them.
Shay too is a blog friend but she is also a neighbor. She makes me laugh when I just think I've got nothing to laugh about. I don't know what I would do without her.
Debbie is my "church" friend. Well that seems like when we spend the most time together. We sit together. We encourage each other. We hold hands. I don't know what I would do without her.
Carolyn is my co-teacher. She let's me cry on her shoulder. She listens to my complaints and I to hers. We build each other up. We laugh together. We sing together and we pray together. I don't know what I would do without her.
And Jeanniehopes, of course...
My sister and I are walking another road that only we know what that feels like. She makes me laugh. She builds me up. I can cry to her and she can cry to me. I don't know what I would do without her!
So, this is the message I received this morning after reading a very difficult Facebook message from Jeannette. We all want to ask "why" questions but in the end, it's not going to matter. In the end, we are just going to fall to our knees and sing Hallelujah . I can only imagine.
Proverbs 31 Ministries - A Recipe for Relationships (February 15)
My mother use to tell me to count myself lucky if I had just one "close friend." That's because close life-long relationships are hard to come by.
So many people today are looking for meaningful relationships, yet so few actually find them. We are becoming an increasingly private society, and it seems fewer people than ever have life-long intimate friendships. Still, the desire for this kind of relationship is not only sought after, but necessary.
Women are naturally drawn to other women. In fact, a girl's first experience with heartache may have been over a lost "best friend" rather than a "boy friend." Women value friendships. When they are lost, we grieve; not just over the friendship itself, but also for the secrets shared, the trust given and the acceptance enjoyed. If betrayed, the pain runs deep causing us to wonder if intimate friendships are really possible.
When I think of a biblical example of real friendship, the story of David and Jonathan, found in 1 Samuel 19, always comes to mind.
Jonathan, son of King Saul, was David's closest friend. But his father, the king, despised David because he was growing in popularity and because God had anointed David to be king. These facts enraged King Saul, so much that he commanded his aids and Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan loved David, therefore betrayal was impossible.
Love isn't the only fruit of true friendship. A real relationship consists of sacrifice too.
Jonathan stripped himself of the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his armor, his sword, his bow, and his belt. Jonathan was the potential heir to his father's throne, but we see him sacrificing his future for his best friend as he literally gave David his place as king.
You and I can learn from this action that true friendship means a willingness to sacrifice for each other in love. It's the ability to put another's needs, desires, and wishes above our own.
Loyalty is also a mark of true friendship. We're told that Jonathan went to his father and spoke well of David. Jonathan also stood up to his dad and essentially said, "Dad, you're wrong about David. He hasn't done any wrong to you; in fact, everything he's done has helped you." A true friend is a loyal defense before others, one who won't talk about you when you're not around. True friends stick up for each other.
Finally, intimate friends give each other complete freedom to be themselves. In an intimate friendship, you don't have to explain why you do what you do. You're just free to do it.
When Jonathan gave David the news that things were troubled in the palace and that his dad was going to kill him, the two were forced to say goodbye. The text tells us that they wept together.
When your heart is broken, you can bleed all over a friend like this and she'll understand. She won't try to dismiss your misery or tell you to straighten up. Intimate friends let each other hurt and they weep together. If your friend needs to talk it through, you will listen. Intimate friends don't bale; they stay. They allow you to be yourself no matter what "self" looks like in that moment.
If you're looking for a godly recipe for relationships, look no further. Mix together love, sacrifice, loyalty, and freedom and you can create an intimate friendship that lasts a lifetime.
Dear Lord, help me to be a friend like Jonathan. Then, bless me with the same. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Micca Monda Campbell