His Endless Gifts: Friendship

August 03, 2012

This post is part of the His Endless Gifts series. I would love for you to join me every week. If you haven't already, please subscribe so you don't miss out! 
I was recently chatting with a Facebook friend about how difficult it is for us to share more about who we really are with other women, especially new relationships.  It didn't take long to realize how similar this conversation felt. 

Different person. Same topic. 

We lock our hearts up so tight, afraid to let others see our mess, our scars, our hopes and dreams, the deepest and most secret places. Some of us may have even thrown away our heart's key, never wanting to expose ourselves again to the pain we once endured. 

It occurred to me all of us have this same story. If we dig deep it is there. Somewhere in our past, we confided in someone and then it backfired on us. The trust is broken, the pain so intense and the scars run right to our core. Perhaps it is a friend's betrayal or the friendship just faded away, season's of our lives or physical distance separating us. We are left wondering will she keep it a secret, all that I gave her of myself? Will she keep it locked in the box where I carefully and neatly placed it? Did she throw away the key?

I have friends, but I only have a couple really close friends and one is my best-est of all friend who knows me pretty well. But, it wasn't always like that. For many years I didn't let anyone come close. Girls at work would invite me to lunch, to be a part of their inner circle and I always declined. I was afraid of what they might  find, afraid of letting them into my messy world. At the time I wasn't in a very good relationship and I  was more ashamed of what I was hiding. Who I was at work was completely different than who I was at home. At work I appeared strong and confident. I was a leader. At home I was weak and lost. Allowing this relationship to consume me and drag me down. I was barely holding on and I didn't want anyone to know it.

But God made us for fellowship with other humans, not to be alone. He made us to have relationships with others and with Him. 

I sometimes wonder: "Do we allow these past experiences and pain to hinder our relationship with Jesus? Do we let them prevent us from completely trusting Him and surrendering our hearts and lives to Him?" Or perhaps it is the complete opposite. Jesus is the ONLY one that we may trust completely with our hearts.

Last night, driving home from Bible study, my best friend played the song "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" by Casting Crowns. There is a line in that song that really touches my heart:

"What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did?"

What if? 

With grace and mercy. Not to judge others and love like He did. 

What if? 

Some of us may think that is impossible, but I am saying it is not! We have to look all the way back to when Jesus became a man and walked this earth with us sinners. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and offered hope. He did this all because He  loves us! Let me say it again. 

HE. LOVES. US! 

He is our friend! And He laid down His very own life for us, for me, for YOU! There is no greater love than that!

I often wonder what it would have been like to be Mary or Martha. To have Jesus come into my home where I prepared Him lunch, sat at his feet and listened to Him talk? To share with Him whatever was on my heart and for Him to respond so lovingly, with grace and mercy. Okay, I must admit there have been times when I tried to picture Jesus actually sitting at the dinner table with us or having a cup of coffee with me in the morning :-)

No matter what hurt and pain our relationships with the flesh may bring, we can know for certain we have a friend in Jesus! He will kiss our wounds and heal them. He loves our brokenness. We don't need to be ashamed. We can trust Him. He has our best interest always at heart. His way is always the perfect way. He leads us down the right path and will never leave us or forsake us.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. “You are My friends if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15:12-15 NASB

Jesus opened his heart and shared himself with us, His friends!

While I was writing this I was reminded of the old hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, words by Joseph Scriven

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 thy friends despise, forsake thee? 
Take it to the Lord in prayer! 
In his arms he'll take and shield thee; 
thou wilt find a solace there.
 Have a blessed day!

Did you miss previous gifts in this series? No problem! You can catch up here: hopelovesalvationfaithpeacejoygracepurposerighteousnessfreedom and healing. Please join me next week as we celebrate the gift of forgiveness.  
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