Proverbs 27:9 – Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel. (NIV)
Lamentations 3:22-24 – Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him. (NKJV)
I believe that friends are gifts from God, who puts them in our paths, and we in theirs, in a multitude of ways and for a multitude of reasons.
Henry Churchill King is quoted as saying, "The very possibility of friendship with God transfigures life. This conviction … tends inevitably to deepen every human friendship, to make it vastly more significant."
God is the third partner in all of our relationships. He walks with us through words, strength, comfort, and understanding, as we nurture each other and work towards building a deeper bond.
Perhaps one of the strongest examples of how God deepens our friendships is through those we "meet" online — specifically, for me, through writing for Daily and through the bonds that are created with my readers. It begins with the support and encouragement received from people I shall likely not meet in my earthly life, and builds upon trust and our mutual love of the Word of God.
One such soul was Rev. George Peters, a retired minister who began our friendship by responding to one of my early devotionals, and who continued to support and encourage me. We both began writing for Daily in November of 1997. Our friendship grew through swapping of ditties, sayings, spiritual inspirations, and the odd joke. In his e-mails, he expressed his upbeat, positive attitude amidst a myriad of health problems, and he always ended with a quotation. We never meet personally; we didn't need to. Our friendship was based on a mutual love of God and respect for each other. Hopefully some of what I received from him I was able to give in return.
His qualities exemplified God's definition of a friend: an unfailing faith, a positive attitude, support and encouragement. Can we consider ourselves that kind of friend?
George passed away on Wednesday morning, January 8th, and a service in his memory is being held this afternoon. In honour of the gift of his friendship, and his love of quotations, I dedicate these two to him:
- "No love, no friendship can ever cross our paths without affecting us in some way." – anonymous.
- "A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature." – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Prayer: Our heavenly Father, we give you our thanks for the friends you place in our paths. May we always endeavour to see them as gifts, to treat them with love and respect; and to welcome your presence within the bonds of all our relationships. And when their time on earth is through, may we graciously accept their being given back to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.