I was thinking the other day about how wonderful it is to have friends and how rare it is to have good ones. I believe we can all agree there are levels and categories with the people we know that range from those who seem like a brother or sister to the casual acquaintance.
Our special friends help celebrate our victories and console us when we fail, and we can trust them with everything. You know that if anything serious were to happen, they would be by your side all the way to the end. In this day and age of electronic relationships, it’s refreshing to have someone we can confide in, to sit down with and be transparent as we share our heart. We were not created to be an independent island to ourselves but rather are given an internal sense of the need for love and to develop a covenant bond with others.
Friendship is all about sincerely caring for another person without any false motives or reasons. We realize that many people who know us are not really connected with us, and that is all right. We accept that we will not be best friends with everyone and no doubt that most of our casual friends also have this same mutual feeling about us.
Have you ever been talking with someone and as they ask how you are, they instantly move on to another subject before you hardly have a chance to answer? I believe that true friends ask about us out of sincerity and are really interested in what is going on in our life. Those who are happy when we are on the mountain and cry when we are going through a dark valley can be placed on our short list of individuals who love and care about us. Donna Roberts is quoted as saying, “A true friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”
The story of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane just before he was to be crucified allows us to see a brief moment of His human side and how He really wanted the spiritual and emotional support of His friends as He was going through a very difficult time. Within this mental image we can know that God definitely understands about loneliness and the value of having someone walk with us in our journey. Jesus knew that His time was near and He asked three of His closest friends to accompany Him to this quiet place where He could spend some time praying to His Heavenly Father. When they arrived, he asked them to stay awake and pray as He was going on a little further down the path. As He walked away it’s clear that He felt an overwhelming sadness and anguish as His words are recorded, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.”
You can read the account in Matthew 26:36-56, which also includes Him falling on His face and crying; “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” After a while, He returns to hopefully receive some positive encouragement but instead finds them asleep. This happens on three separate occasions, and the last time He stood over them and with compassion said to sleep on now and take your rest. Even though they could not hold their eyes open does not mean they did not love Him, because they truly did (and by the way, I would say we would have not been able to stay awake either).
My point is that we all want our closest friends around us when we are walking through our experiences, whatever they are. There is an old saying that explains how there comes a time in our life when we realize who actually matters, who never did, who is not around anymore and who will always be there. When we are in the hospital or in the nursing home and our family and friends are holding our hands, we can thank God for giving us our greatest blessings.
BILLY HOLLAND lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community outreach chaplain. Request a free copy of his new CD at billyhollandministries.com.