U-Hauls, moving vans, pick-ups, loaded cars, and farm trucks. All familiar items. My father’s profession-along with his uncertainty over whether God wanted him to be a pastor or full-time evangelist, made frequent moves a normal and unpleasant element of my childhood.
One recent morning, I lay in bed struggling with how many friends’ full names I could recall from my pre-high school graduation years. Finally, I managed to construct the names of five friends from high school but came up empty-handed when I reflected on the prior years.
Along with the brief periods my father remained in any one place, I cultivated an aversion to developing too many relationships. Leaving two friends was easier than saying goodbye to twenty. Following in my father’s footsteps has perpetrated the pattern. Though I have assembled numerous acquaintances, my lasting friendships are severely limited.
Wise King Solomon nailed the essence of good friendships when he wrote, There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24 NLT).
As with healthy marital and sibling relationships, assembling lasting friendships requires time. Friendships must be nurtured regardless of whether our friends live in close proximity or we’re separated by thousands of miles. Thankfully, technology has made distant friendships easier to maintain. Hand-written letters, emails, social media outlets, telephone calls, and personal time together are all ways to deepen our friendship bonds. Friends also respect the importance of trust. The trust element is developed with time and common experiences but can be destroyed by thoughtless words and actions. Never take a friend’s confidence in you for granted. Fortunate is the person who has three people they can classify loyal friends. What can you do to nurture your friendships?
Prayer: Merciful Lord, You call us Your friends, and we ask You to instill in us the friendship traits that will make us the type of friend to others that You are to us.