The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.
There is something so comforting about those times when we reconnect with an old friend. Even though you may not have seem one another for years, when you meet up again, it is as if you were never parted! It’s a feeling that I liken to your softest, coziest pajamas and slippers. No matter how hard your day has been, when you arrive home, and rid yourself of the “trappings” of your business world, and then you slip into the cottony softness of your pajamas, suddenly the adult responsibilities seem to melt away, replaced with the warmth of hearth and home. It is a feeling that is somehow reminiscent of the carefree days of your childhood! And reconnecting with someone who “knew you when” somehow brings to you the comforting feeling of reliving the life you knew before all of the responsibilities of adulthood became the millstone around your neck! I guess that is why I like to think about faith and walking hand in hand with my Lord as I travel life’s road, exactly like spending time with an old friend.
Like any good friend, we want to spend time with someone who is kind and trustworthy and loyal. Likewise, how often do you find yourself pulling away from that new acquaintance who chooses to try to force intimacy with you? Well, God is all of those good things we seek out in a friend….and more! But the most wonderful thing of all is that He seeks to be our friend first! You may not realize it, but I know, deep inside, that when we are drawn to faith and we feel compelled to want to understand and to learn all we can about it, it is because God has reached out His hand of friendship and has touched our heart! And choosing His friendship offer is easy, because it’s free for the taking! The question then becomes do you really want it and what will you be willing to give back to Him to have it?
What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation — A toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God; I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, And I’ll do it together with his people. (1
Do these lines sound a bit familiar? Well, if they do it is probably not because you know the person who wrote them. (His name is Eugene Peterson. He is a poet, a college professor AND a pastor who hales from Canada and he wrote these words from inspiration he received from Psalm 116. As a matter of fact, I have shared that Psalm with you as today’s Bible passage which you will find at the end of this post!) But you probably know the person who said them while on tour, and just before performing ” Where the Streets Have No Name “. Yes, I am talking about Bono…singer, songwriter, and philanthropist to untold millions who have been the recipient of some measure of his generosity, over the years! He is also a friend to many, but even more importantly, he has chosen to accept the hand of friendship from my friend….and yours! And just as the Lord walks next to Bono and me every day, so will He travel by your side, if you let Him! And do you want to know something? His hand in mine is even better that my soft, comfy pajamas!
Psalm 116 NIV
1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.
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