You come across a lot of people in your life. Some of them come by default like family members, but others randomly appear and later become linked to you.
You go to school, play in your neighborhood, go to Sunday school, go to college, go to work, and somehow, at one of those places, you meet some wonderful people for the first time. You shared a common interest; you hang out, laughed a lot; and you connected.
Then you landed your dream job, got married, got an awesome house, got a raise, and every time you shared these exciting news items, you noticed they honestly felt happy for you as though it were happening to them. Similarly, after facing challenging or sad moments in life, you could see in them that they wish you did not have to go through it.
With the events shared, you realize that you can exhibit your complete and transparent character with them; you don’t need to worry about being judged. Not necessarily will you find agreement, but you will definitely find a fair perspective. You can find in them someone that sincerely supports the best for you and knows how to respect your choices without making you second-guess yourself. They will never keep from you the freedom of finding your own way; they would rather contribute to your happiness.
Even with the unintentional distances that tend to push us apart, there is no space for hard feelings, but for understanding. And the time apart is quickly recovered by the quality time you spend when you are together again. If you have these kinds of people in your life, you have one of the most valuable things that one can have. They are called real friends.
The real proof of a good friendship is that everything is carried out bilaterally, reciprocal, mutual. This is why the key to having a good friend is to know how to be a good friend.
C.S. Lewis, one of my favorites, could not describe it any better:
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.
Real friends actually become a perfect family in our lives. They become perfect sisters and brothers to us. It is really interesting how we can pray for “blessings,” yet we give our own definition of blessings according to what we think we need at the moment. I know a lot of people pray for the blessing of someone to marry. But I haven’t heard of a lot of people who pray for the blessing of a good friend.
I made this my prayer very early in my life because I felt that I did not have any real friends, but I knew I could use one. God is so wonderful that He answered my prayer with more than one good friend. They are amazing human beings who have stood beside me, tolerated me when I was going through my worst time, prayed with me, laughed with me, and loved me. It’s amazing how you can find real love in friends.
If you have real friends in your life, you can give thanks for them in your prayers just as Paul expressed in his letter to the Philippians:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:3-5).
If you, on the other hand, lack real friends in your life, pray to God to bring them to you as a blessing. Believe me, the time will come when you will need them.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Jenilee Rebarber is a doctor of optometry who enjoys traveling, photography, and writing inspirational ideas about life and God.
Copyright 2015 Jenilee Rebarber. All rights reserved.