“A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17, NIV).
That’s the kind of friend everyone wants, and it’s hard to improve on that definition. But here are five friends–five kinds of friends–you can’t live without. If you know one of them, that’s great. And if you’ve known all five, you are blessed beyond measure.
1. A Friend in Deed
This is the friend who buys you a new pair of shoes (or loans you theirs) when your child plugs the commode with your own shoes. It’s the friend who keeps your baby when you’re throwing up, the one who brings you chicken soup (and chocolate) the day you come home from the hospital, and the one who cleans your shower (yuk!) when you don’t have the strength to do it yourself. This friend loves to help.
2. Friend in Need
You’ll find this friend waiting at the emergency room–before you even get there, and the one who listens to you cry when you lose your mom. It’s the friend who says with a hug, “It’ll be okay,” when the doctor announces, “It’s cancer,” and the one who holds your heart when your spouse walks out on you. You find this friend during a crisis.
3. A Friend Who Intercedes
This friend (s) prays for you, for your family, and your own personal Christian growth. Ever experience days when you cry out, “God, I can’t do this, but you can!”? Knowing a friend is fervently praying for you, too, makes all the difference.
4. Friend in Creed
This friend may share the same beliefs you do or attend a Bible study with you; or perhaps one who shares lunch and who encourages you to keep growing in your relationship with Christ.
5. A Friend Who’s Anti-Creed
This friend may not share your same beliefs, or may just be opposite in personality; but it’s a friend who may challenge you to move beyond your normal comfort zone, sometimes even beyond the church walls to share your influence–and your God. You may picture this as an unlikely friendship, like the one between an 8,700-pound elephant named Tarra and Bella, a small dog. If you haven’t watched this video about this unlikely pair, take a moment to do so.
You may be saying, “God hasn’t given me any of those kinds of friendships. Even my relatives live too far away.”
Then I’ve just offered you numerous ways for you to make a friend. Take the initiative. The old adage “to have a friend, you must be one” is still true. The One who loves you (Jesus) calls you “friend.” Tell him what you need.
Then ask him to help you be a friend–indeed.
In Memory of Millie
I’ve been blessed through the years to have many of these friends. Some of them are probably reading this blog. But one of them stands out especially now, one who loved Colorado. For 38 years she was my dearest friend. She qualified for all five of those kinds of friends I’ve listed above.
We were opposites, but primarily in personalities. She lived life out loud. I wrote life out loud. But we both loved and lived life on purpose–whether in the same town (the first 12 years) or long distance (the next 26). She was gifted beyond measure.
Our kids grew up together and our husbands fished together and worked on their cabin on those special occasions when we vacationed at their Colorado hideaway. We shared fellowship at the church where my husband was on staff for 12 years.
Millie and I shared some of our greatest joys, especially our mutual love for Jesus–on the phone, in person, or in cards and letters. But we also shared some of our deepest pain. The things Millie taught me I could put in a book. And some of them I already have. Millie touched so many lives with her generous, self-sacrificing hospitality, that it was appropriate for their family and friends to call her “Our Millie” at her memorial service several years ago. She was one of a kind, and I will dearly miss her.