You Gotta Friend In Me
Chaplain Ron Suarez, MDiv, CTCA/Southwestern Regional Medical Center
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:9-12
Did you have a best friend growing up? My family lived in the same house while I was growing up, and they still live there today. Things were much simpler in those days; most of the kids I grew up with were born in that neighborhood and didn't move away until junior high or high school. Every now and then an old friend would move away, but it seemed that a new friend would quickly fill the void.
On the long summer breaks from school, we would gather together scraps of wood and then my neighbor, Kendall, and I would build a fort or maybe a tree house in his big mimosa tree. We were best of friends. We would spend hours inventing new games and pretending.
We would play Batman and Robin, and Kendall was always Batman, and I was always Robin. We would climb on the house with sheets wrapped around our necks for capes and then jump off the roof. We would play outside all day, and, inevitably, someone would get in a squabble with someone but you always made up, and your friends always stuck up for you. It was you two against the world. We had a lot of fun back then, and I think what made it fun was the times I shared with my friends.
When we get older, we often get married, because we want someone who will make our struggles their struggles, someone to stick with us through thick and thin, for better and worse. Sometimes you just can't make it alone; if you were by yourself, you would perish. You need someone to come alongside and tell you that you can do it, encourage you and give you the skills or answers to get you through your problem. A friend, whether a spouse or not, will help to bear some of your load for a while. They will carry some of your cares, hurts, responsibility, and give you a rest so you can regain strength to carry on in the battle. In tough times, when everything seems to be going wrong, a friend can help you weather the storms of life and assist you when you’re in grief and sorrow.
If I'm truly honest, however, my wife is not perfect, no matter how much I love her and trust her as my best friend. She will fail me at times, because her judgment is imperfect due to some character flaw or because of selfish motives. And while my childhood friends were great, I know I tend to fictionalize how great those relationships were. So many times we want to recapture a false image of those friendships we once enjoyed in our youth, but we can't, and we get burned time after time.
But thank God there is more then just the human element. We see in the verse above that it says in the last part of that "a threefold cord is not quickly broken." You see, when it comes down to it, when we're talking about the perfect friend, we're talking about Jesus.
Jesus is the perfect friend you’ve been looking for all your life. He will never betray you, because He's perfect in character and judgment. Friendship with Jesus brings the edge that sharpens our lives. Jesus is the one who can and will bear all your burdens. Jesus is the selfless friend we are seeking in all our acquaintances. He shouldn't be the last friend you turn to but the first. We shouldn't add Jesus to our friendships; we should add our friendships to Jesus.
True friendship is obtained by putting God first in our lives. Do you place your spouse above God in you life? Do you place your friend above God in your life? Do you place your kids above God in your life? It's idolatry to consider anyone of more value or importance then God. God will not honor such a friendship, and any relationship that supersedes God will fail. So I ask you, is Jesus you're best friend? Can He say of you, "Gotta friend in me?" Do you place Him before all other relationships? Christians must make him first above every other relationship. Jesus cares for us more deeply then any spouse or friend could ever hope to. He deserves our utmost allegiance, because He has shown Himself to be the most glorious friend to us. You'll never find peace until you trust Him as your best friend to guide you in whatever He chooses and obey Him in whatever He commands.