I revisited a post I wrote quite a while ago, A New Year-A Greater Love. God opened up my eyes, once again, to see a greater, greater love of none other than God, our Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
I was starting to feel torn between loving my friends and living in a safe environment in my binary world. Loving my friends has now consequentially meant that I have to give up a significant part of me, whatever it is, to let them be who they are. There is almost no other way out when I have to believe it is who God has created them to be. In my binary world, things are black or white, happening or not happening. Something is good or it is bad. A person performs well or is not performing. A deal is in writing or it is not a deal. There are start dates and finish dates and things happen sequentially in a linear, orderly fashion. However, I realised I have to stop looking for answers, stop the quest for a beginning or an end and let go of those clear-to-me boundaries in order to start loving the people I called friends. Stepping out of my comfort zone in my binary world seems to be the only way forward in this transformational time for me. I have to learn to make decisions that are mostly right, sort-of right, on-balance right based on all the incomplete information I can have access to. I have to be satisfied with directionally correct answers, because I am choosing Love and learning to love, in this chaotic world. It is a paradigm shift for me, yet again.
I had the privilege to witness a friendship that God has given to a group of faithful elderly in our community. They have been friends for at least one or two decades in this community of faith. It was a wake service of one of the eldest amongst the few left. The event was simple but impeccably beautiful. It captured the hearts displaying their longing for eternity, when we meet Jesus face to face. The elderly sang the favorite songs of the deceased beloved and shared how they will be missing their good old friend. There were tears, yet within, an unspeakable joy from the hope they have, in wait to meet with their dear friend soon and very soon.
This is not just about friends who met, stayed and never left even in the challenging times. This is about friends who came, battle alongside in spirit and in truth, never left even in the darkest moments and together, in wait for an eternal friendship to come, expecting for more in the communion that God has promised us-greater love is no more than this, indeed. Abraham was called a friend of God because he believed in God and it was counted to him as righteousness (James 2:23). The beauty of friendship we can have amongst us as believers is that, we can have Jesus as the center of it all. It does not exist just for this short life we live, it runs in into eternity, it never ends. Loving one another (John 15:12b) and laying down our lives for friends (John 15:13b) become more conceivable and even realistic in this lifetime. It feels like a drop in the ocean of unconditional love that God has first given us.
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” ~C.S.Lewis, The Four Loves
The ultimate relationship that God has given to us-Friendship, is not about who we are but how He came, never left and made the Promise that bind us to Him and to one another in His everlasting love. I am grateful for this extended invitation through our Lord Jesus, to be a friend to one another and a friend of God.
(Featured image: South Korea; September 2018)
His beautiful & relentless love makes a soul relentlessly beautiful.