The first best friend I remember having was Nikia Sharp. It was 2nd grade, and we had not a care in the world! I remember being very fond of her, and I remember going to her house to play. We ordered Pizza Hut that night. I thought her parents were the coolest. In my brain, Pizza Hut was the top of the pizza food chain, and they ordered it on a Tuesday night like it was commonplace food. I could only imagine what they had there on the weekends! She was my best friend for a whole year, and then she moved to Indiana. We wrote each other a few letters (yes, the snail mail kind), but eventually the friendship fizzled because we weren’t in each other’s everyday lives anymore. Sometimes I wonder how she is and what her life looks like now. Does she remember little second grade me, too?
Friendships fascinate me. They’re often composed of some rather unusual pairings. Do you have friends that have been around so long that you can’t even remember the origin story of your relationship? I know I have some of those! I feel blessed to have had many long, enduring friendships over the years.
I love talking to kids about their friends. It is so interesting that before these little people know anything about the kind of sacrifice involved in being a true friend, they find another little girl to love and laugh with and play dolls with, and it’s precious.
There’s one universal truth about friendships though, they’re not true friendships until they have been tested in some way. Until they’ve been through the fire and come out forged strong and solid. Until that point, I call them theoretical friendships. That forging of a true friendship can take different forms, though. It could be a rift or argument that is healed with the power of humility and forgiveness. Or walking through a trial with another, volunteering to carry a burden that would have nothing to do with you except that it belongs to someone you love. Or it could be telling the truth to someone (hopefully in a gentle, loving way) and wondering if your friendship has enough grit to weather the storm of rejection or resentment.
John 15:15 says, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus calls us friends. That blows my mind. I mean, God spoke with Moses face to face as a friend speaks (Exodus 33:11) and Abraham was called a friend of God (James 2:23). But to think I’m a friend of Jesus? It sure seems as if that is a very one-sided friendship. Jesus is the ultimate friend–the One that sticks closer than a brother, the One who longs for us to have a real, true relationship with Him, the One whose friendship can weather anything in this world.
So what would it look like for us to embrace that friendship that Jesus offers? It’s all those things found in the rest of the chapter in John 15: abide in Him, do nothing apart from Him, bear fruit, keep His commandments, love one another, bear witness of Him.
So, “when the road looks rough ahead and you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed, you just remember what your old pal said, ‘You’ve got a friend in Him.’”