You’ve probably heard of the saying, “to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend.” Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. So it’s not always easy. Friendship takes time, effort, patience, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, love. Yet we all know that good, true friends – the kind that will support and love you unconditionally, through thick and thin, are hard to find, and well worth what it takes to keep. Jesus told us and showed us how to be a good human being, a son, a brother, and a friend. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:12-15). What a bunch of friends Jesus had! Judas who betrayed him, Peter who denied knowing him when the going got tough, Thomas who didn’t believe in him…and yet he showed us how to forgive (seventy times seven times if that’s what it takes!) and be encouraging and patient (telling them to go out and fish again) and loving (in so many ways). I feel sad that some of my friends over the years have grown distant or fallen away, mostly because of my lack of effort, or because I have let unmet expectations get in the way. It reminds me to look at the friends right in front of me today…and to be a friend to them. God often helps me grow and speaks to me through my friends. But mainly I get to know and love myself and God a little more through good friends. To all of my friends, in the past, in the present, and those yet to be in the future, thank you and I love you.
Monthly Archives: April 2016
Easter Joy…how quickly I can forget even a week later as hurts, frustrations and weariness cloud my thoughts and feelings. Little things – something someone said to hurt me, something I worked hard on not recognized, feeling overworked or overwhelmed – can feel like splinters or thorns, like one step forward, two steps back – and I forget to focus on the positive things in my life, how far I’ve come, and the big picture: that we are all striving to get to heaven one day, where God has saved a place for us. I can’t help but think of the apostles, all hiding in a room together after Jesus died, afraid, targets on their backs, without their leader. The picture was painted so well by the TV movie last Easter, “A.D. The Bible Continues” in which the apostles, even Peter and Paul, argued over what to do and where to go after Jesus’ death. Here they had seen the Lord in person, were witnesses to His resurrection, and they too still let petty personality differences and their fears get in the way. Yet through their trials and tribulations, they kept working hard to spread the Word and build the Kingdom, knowing their reward would be eternal life with God. St. Paul refers often in his writings to life here on earth as running a race, reminding us to keep our eyes on the prize. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2), and “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). We each have our own race to run, our own crosses to bear. Sometimes it seems like it’s too hard, there’s too far to go in too little time, other people get in the way, I’m falling behind, I’ll never get there. That’s when I just have to keep putting one foot in front of another and focus on the real finish line.