Christianity 201

August 2, 2011

True Friendship

I don’t read Tony Woodlief’s blog, Sand in the Gears, enough to catch the nuances of all that follows, but I felt that this piece on friendship which he posted in early May of this year was exactly what someone might need today.


I am rarely humble yet often humbled, which is maybe the surest sign that God has not given up on me yet. I remember, years ago, standing in judgment over a friend who came to me seeking grace. I offered him Bible verses, I lectured him on the stern truths of the Christian sect in which I was then immersed. He was wrapped up in torment and loneliness, and all he got from me was rejection.

I called him, years later, and asked his forgiveness. Of course he offered it immediately. Since then we have been in touch — an email here, a phone call there — but we haven’t stayed close. This wasn’t because of standoffishness on his part, but rather the realities of two men raising families and working twelve-hour days and living a thousand miles apart.

Now he comes alongside me as I face a struggle of my own, a struggle about which everyone, if invited, would have an opinion. He offers not judgment, but loving counsel. He asks not that I satisfy his demands, but that I take care of myself, of the ones I love.

He is there for me in a way I was not for him, and all I can think to myself is that I could spend the rest of my days trying to be a better friend, and I wouldn’t come close to being his equal.

Then I think about the number of friends I have who are that way, who would answer the phone if I were to call at 2 a.m. (and who may well get such a call before peace returns), who would listen and love me no matter what I say, what I do. At the drop of a hat I can tell you roughly how much money I own, the approximate amount of equity in my house, exactly how many frequent-flyer miles I have. But it takes some thought to conjure up the number of true friends, because I don’t think on them as often as I should.

Their number is far greater than I deserve, and maybe just enough to carry me through to the end.

It’s worth doing such a heart’s accounting, now and then, to remind yourself how many people love you, how many people would welcome you into their homes, how many pray for you and think about you and take joy in knowing you are well.

And then to ask yourself how many people would consider you such a friend.

~Tony Woodlief

July 21, 2010

Divine Appointments

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:39 pm
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Although I think I had previously crossed paths with David Fisher in some other context, I became more aware of him during the time he was the chaplain to The Toronto Blue Jays, as in Major League Baseball.     We’ve had many great encounters since, and this is from Dave’s blog Pilgrim Scribblings.

Although I don’t frequent Facebook as often as I used to, I still check in from time to time and leave an update regarding my “status”.  The following “status” was posted yesterday:

“David Fisher found a “quiet” spot in a secluded (?) place to read a book this morning. Friends from Quebec came long. We chatted. Then a childhood friend and his wife just “happened” to be walking past. They joined in the conversation. Another couple I’ve known for 50 years approached. How many pages did I read? None! But I cherished the conversation!”

Often in our attempts to “get away” from people in our quest for solitude we find ourselves in the presence of those who God has “sent” to encourage us and lift our spirits during a difficult time.  That was the case yesterday.  I just wanted to be alone for an hour or two with a good book, never dreaming that I would be “found” by three Christian couples whom the Lord would use to bless me.  Each one spoke of times in the past when I had encouraged them or ministered to them in a significant way.

The scriptures remind us that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23) When we aren’t feeling very “good” ourselves He will direct the steps of other “good” people to intersect with ours.

Thank you Lord for Lloyd and Pamela, Gord and Lynda and Gord and Marg.  You all quietly refreshed my spirit in my search for “quietness”.

In the days ahead, be open to the possibility of God sending someone to refresh your spirit.  Better yet, ask Him to do so!