Friends are important people in our lives and can play many roles. They can be our shoulder to cry on, or the people we can call when we need a good laugh. They can be our strength in times of weakness, and they can give us a hand when times get rough. If we choose the right friends they can be our “accountability partners.” They will make sure that we are continuing on the right path and will bring us in when we start to stray. Some stay in our lives for a long time, and some come and go quickly. Each one, though, comes into our lives for a reason and a purpose.
In 2009 I lost my dad and my grandfather, my son was diagnosed with cancer, and our family was hurt by someone we never expected. Throughout the entire time I had an amazing friend whom I could talk with whenever I needed her. During the cancer she asked me to call her each night in the beginning to let her know how things were going. When my son was settled down for the night I would get on the phone and we would talk. I loved it. She was my comfort at that time. When we were hurt she was the first person I called, and she met me for coffee so we could talk and I could cry. She helped me through so many tough times that year and I will always be thankful. We don’t talk as much now as we did before, but I’m still grateful for her friendship and I know that she will be there for me if I need her, and if she ever needs me I will help her.
The night of His betrayal Jesus brought Peter, James and John with Him when He went away from the group to pray. He told them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Mt 26: 38) He chose three close friends to stay near Him while he prayed. Unfortunately they were unable to stay awake, but I think just knowing that they were near was as much of a comfort as He could get at that moment. Jesus was all man and all God. He felt what we feel, and needed the same comforts we need. Friends can make a big difference in our lives, and it’s up to us to choose the right ones.
God is our greatest friend. He is our source of comfort. He told us, “Come to Me all you weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28) He told us to come to Him for any need. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Eph 6:18a) When we seek Him daily through prayer and through the reading of His words we stay grounded in our faith. He is the one friend who will take you as you are, and because of that and all the love He has for you, you will want to do what He commands, and what He commands is good and holy. Not once will He tell us to do something that is evil as “the wrong friend” may try to do. God is good, and God is love, and He is the best friend we could ever have.
Seek friends who also believe that He is the greatest friend, for those are the people who will keep you on the path that leads to His kingdom, the kingdom He promises each of us who call on His name. These are the friends who, like Christ, will lay their lives down for you and you for them.
I pray that we all have the opportunity in our lives to meet the most amazing, God loving, Christ following, friends that will help us, guide us, comfort us, and always remind us where we’re going and how we’re getting there.