John 15:12,17 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. (KJV)
A piece of mail sits unopened on my desk. I know it is a card to wish us a "Happy Anniversary". It is from a friend, and it has come early to ensure it is here on the correct date, just as my birthday cards have always been in the forty years we've been friends.
We were married the same year, had our kids in the same time frame, and shared our ups and downs in person for a few years, then by phone and mail. My friend's marriage ended, mine continued, and in the early years of their separation, it felt odd not to be sending an anniversary card, and yet to receive one. We'd talk about these and all kinds of things. Friends can do that. We've also never exchanged an angry word in all those forty years. We know that we are always there for each other.
I will open the card on the exact date, and yet, I know without opening it, it will contain words of love and friendship. Words of caring and genuine wishes for our relationship for years to come. Words from a friend.
A book is also on my desk, an open book, with words from another friend. Words of love and hope and joy. Words of encouragement and support, offering strength and courage. Words to let me know that this friend is always with me. Words to lift me up when I am down, to comfort me when I have sorrow, words to guide me when I falter.
The book is the Bible, and it carries the word of God, our Father, my friend.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, we thank you for your words of comfort, of encouragement, of support and strength — words which help us find our way. We thank you, Lord, that we are in a country where we can have Bibles openly in our homes and with us every day. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.