The Gift of Friendship

I have long been thankful for the many good—and I mean really good—friends my wife and I have.  We regard each one as a gift and blessing from God, “the giver of every good and perfect gift” (Jas. 1:17).  And surely, friendship is one of his greatest gifts.  Solomon says, “A friend loves at all times” (Prov. 17:17).  Even in adversity.  Some stick closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).  

The Lord has given us many friends like this.  

Since we first received the diagnosis (August 5) that Melinda’s cancer had returned, and were given a none too hopeful prognosis, we have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of love from our friends.  

We have shed plenty of tears along the way, but not all of them have been sorrowful.  Early on, during a trip home from the oncologist, I heard Melinda’s phone go off.  As she read the text, she began to cry.  I asked her if everything was okay.  She handed me her phone, too choked up to answer.  It was a short message of encouragement and a sympathetic offer of help.  I said, “The Lord has given us such good friends.”  “And they’re all over the place,” she said.  And we began to recount how the Lord in his kind providence has led us to meet and develop deep and lasting friendships with people from seemingly everywhere.  

It has been humbling and encouraging and convicting all at once.  Humbling that so many people hold us so dear in their hearts; encouraging that so many have reached out to us and offered their help in very real and practical ways and have raised many heartfelt prayers for her; and convicting because it forces me to ask myself if I’m as good a friend to my friends as they are to me.  

To all our friends I say, thank you.  Your friendship multiplies the joy of life and divides its sorrow.


Patty Fox said…
As I read that I am reminded that I often don't love well. In my heart, yes. As an outward expression, no. What a great reminder that every small gesture can make a huge impact. It is following through with the little nudges that God puts on our hearts...during the happy times and sad times...the real and honest times. The "lets be real and vulnerable" times. The "lets do relationship, even when it's hard" times. I pray that I would do "friendship" on the outside better by following through with God's little nudges. Doug, know that I have you and your family in my heart and prayers.

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