About two months ago, I walked into a room that I had only briefly visited in the previous five years. I was welcomed by an abundance of old belongings which quickly reminded me that it had indeed been awhile since I had slept regularly within these four walls.
Feeling brave one recent evening, I pulled out a box from beneath my bed that had sat there relatively untouched in its 10 years of existence. I opened the flaps and was quickly greeted with memories from my past. Gifts, pictures, and cards from my school years were soon scattered on the floor. A similar theme coursed throughout the many trinkets I leafed through, whether emblazoned on a picture frame or scribbled in a handwritten note.
Forever, eh? Forever is a difficult notion to wrap your head around as an adult much less as a child or a teenager. But sure enough, my friends and I were determined to have our friendships last for as long as we could possibly imagine.
But as inevitability has it, schools change, personalities mature, characters develop. Friendships that once were destined to last to infinity and beyond may slowly fade into a memory tucked away in a box beneath a bed.
As I pondered the friendships in my life- some that have come and gone, others that have come and stayed, and even some that have come, gone, and since returned- I couldn’t help but be reminded of one Friend in particular.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” [John 15:15]
Jesus, the One with every right to call me servant, chose to call me friend.
The closest of friends share their deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and this is exactly what the Lord did for us. He chose to make known all that He had learned because He desired to call us friend. What a remarkable reality! And two verses earlier, we see an excellent depiction of what this friendship means for us.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13]
Jesus, my closest friend, laid down His life for me. For you. For those who have never even heard of Him. And He did that so we could experience life with him, true friendship. The kind of friendship that lasts forever.
I don’t always understand His friendship. I can go days and days without spending time with Him. I can forget to thank Him for the gifts with which He has provided me. I can flat out ignore or reject the commands He has given me out of love. And my experiences tell me that these actions should cause this friendship to slowly fade away, but this friendship is not dependent on me. He has offered this friendship to me as a gift, that once accepted, cannot be taken away. I strive to be a good friend, but when I fail Him, I know that He will not walk away from our friendship.
I am so thankful there is a Friend who wants to walk through life with us, every footstep along the way. Do we, as Christians, rely on our closest Friend? For those of you who have not accepted this gift of friendship, do you desire to taste of a love that never ends?
Although many friendships will not last a lifetime, this is one that undoubtedly will.