Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times”

Yesterday, I spent the day at my parents’ house helping them organize some paperwork.  In the process, I came across a stash of old letters that my friends had sent me during my college years. It was a wonderful surprise as I was reminded of how much correspondence there had been between my friends and me before the days of email.  We wrote a lot, and I had forgotten about it.  I took some time to read over many of these letters last night and they put a smile on my face the whole time.  Besides the joy of reminiscing, one of the effects that reading these letters had on me was to reinforce for me how grateful I am for the gift of friends. 

Don’t you just love your friends? Isn’t it wonderful to experience the gift of a friend’s love?  And then, this morning I was blessed to see a Facebook post from a friend from our years when our family lived in Erie County over 35 years ago.  I was doubly blessed to hear in this post the testimony of how Jesus had changed this friend’s life.  It was a beautiful thing that brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. These were tears of gratitude for the gift of having this person as a friend, and tears of gratitude to Jesus, Who had sovereignly guided our steps to cross the life of this friend so many years ago. 

What a wonderful treasure is a Christian friend.  As the Michael W. Smith song so beautifully says “Friends are friends forever when the Lord’s the Lord of them.” Friends are there for us in thick or thin. As they share life with us, they demonstrate their love for us, and they receive love from us in return.  Isn’t it so wonderful then that Jesus has told us who know Him “I have called you friends” (John 15:15)?  Not only that, we know that Jesus was actually mocked for being “a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19), i.e., sinners like you and me.  And while He is and always will be the perfect friend, we often don’t hold up our end of that friendship very well, He continues to keep on loving us and blessing us time after time with His encouragement and by meeting our needs.  His is the greatest love for a friend, for “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). 

May God be praised for the gift of friendship, both that of the wonderful friends with which He has blessed our lives, and for His own most wonderful friendship to us, a friendship for which we can never be grateful enough.

Praise His glorious name!

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