birds of a featherMuch of this past year has been a transition for me.  Without the demands of a pressing corporate job, children or even a pet to care for I find that suddenly my time is my own. This new reality presents all sorts of questions. For example, the subject of friends arose when someone I considered to be a very close friend moved away. Suddenly I felt an emptiness I hadn’t experienced before.

I know some people claim large number of friends. From the time they were old enough to relate to others they naturally engaged with many people. Their Facebook page reflects this. Recently I noted that my nephew had over 500 FB friends. Naturally, I am aware that not all friends serve the same role. Some are fun to socialize with, others serve as confidants, and others are closer than a sister or brother.

As I questioned what kind of a friend I had been or if I could have been a better friend, I realized that it had never occurred to me to think about the subject.  As I examined it, I found I never had many friends. Oh, I had childhood friends, but they fell away in high school as I exchanged them for the BOYFRIEND.  I often considered co-workers friends, until I left a company where I had spent over 15 years and discovered that they were merely colleagues or associates, but not friends. They fell away too. I wouldn’t make that mistake again. During the ensuing years, I no longer considered co-workers friends, but merely acquaintances.

Instead, somewhere along the way due to time constraints my husband and sister became my closest friends, with sprinkles of friendship moments with my adult children.  What had I sacrificed by not developing more friends throughout my life?

Proverbs 18:24 states, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Jesus is an example of the truest friend, one who carries our burdens, lifts the load from our shoulders, and asks for nothing in return. Rather than worry about whether or not I have enough friends I am content that I can go to Jesus, better than any earthly friend I can imagine.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

In God's hand

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