Thoughts On Biblical Friendship

Friendship is a gift from God. A tangible symbol reflecting His own love for you.


When someone gives you a gift that they tailormade just for you, would you go and hide it in your closet and not tell anyone about it? No, most certainly not. You would show the whole world in a public thank you for what that person made you/ bought you because you appreciate being thought of.


When Jesus provides a friend for you, someone He knows you need for a season or many in your life, would you be ashamed of that gift of friendship and refuse to publicly acknowledge it? I would hope not. I would hope that you would share that gift of friendship with others, inspiring others to pass it on.


As humans, we are made in God’s image. God is a relational God. It is only natural that as His creation we thrive in our relationships with others. We were not made to be islands.

 

John 11: 1 – 44 says this:


Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)

3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,

7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light.

10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”

13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,

15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem,

19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”

29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.

30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.

31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

 

In bold are instances where Jesus openly and unashamedly expresses His deep love for His friend, Lazarus, and Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary.


The fact that Jesus understands the love that I have for my friends that He has blessed me with is humbling.


Below are the faces of just a few of my many friends, a few of many blessings in my life.


Some of them have known me since diapers. Some have gotten to know me from my time back home in Senegal. And still, others have come along since coming to Gordon.


But there is one thing I know to be true – each one of these men and women of God would drop everything they were doing to support me, and vice versa.


These hearts are unbelievably beautiful and unique. Each one of them was made in the hands of God for his honor and glory, and my good.


These sweet friends of mine have been used by God as voices of reason, truth, and peace in both the turmoil and the calm. Each of them has been there to encourage me, stretch me, and push me closer to the heart of Christ. They’ve stood the test of time. Ask any of them, they could probably tell you just how often I thank them for loving me where I’m at in this life.


Whether I have pictures of us/ you or not – I am so grateful for you.


I love you for who Jesus is making you to be. I love you for how you love me, and for your willingness to model our Heavenly Father’s love for me. Especially on the days where I feel like I don’t deserve His love, thank you for being willing to allow Him to use you to love me anyway.


I am sorry if I haven’t told you just how much I appreciate you. It was never my attention to hide our wildly beautiful friendship in a closet. The world needs to know just how incredible you are! If the world could see the beautiful heart I see, it would be a different place.


I pray that you feel just as blessed by me as I am by you.


Hey World, just so you know, Jesus gave these people to me for this season of my life, and I refuse to be ashamed of them. I can’t lie about my love for them simply because it makes you uncomfortable. That’s unfair to all involved. I understand that you may not like to share your love for your friends in the same ways that I do. That's okay. But please don't tell me what I should or should not post/ share about my friends, and please don't tell me how much I am or am not allowed to love them.


Hey Friend, I love you big. I am so thankful to Jesus for you and for how much you bless me every day. Let’s go on so many more adventures together! I’ll always be here for you, and I will always love you. Thank you for loving me.


- Grace