BEING A FRIEND

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lately, I feel the Lord pressing the idea of community onto my heart. Stories of strong friendship, powerful conversations, shoulders rubbing, and moments of breaking bread linger with me throughout an entire day. I find myself asking and wondering more and more what a good community is supposed to look like... I imagine that community to be a living room or a coffee shop, a space that feels so safe and accepting that hands held over hearts are removed and left to breathe and bleed all over the coffee table. A space where the brothers/sisters can feel known, loved, and accepted. Am I in one? Does my presence help cultivate one?

With school starting up again, I am in a new season of my life and with each passing day, we leave transition mode and enter daily routine. It is my final year on campus and that thought brings out a sense of anxiety and urgency in me. It reminds me how quickly time flies and that time is never in my control. Knowing that, as I plan for the day, the month, the semester, I want to live with intention and gratitude. And as I pray for this upcoming semester, I ask God the same question day after day: what does faithfulness look like for me in this season right now? Who am I called to love and what will that love look like? How can I be a better steward? And knowing that I am effective as much as I soak in Your presence and your love, how can I claim your promises and truths today? 

I guess all I'm asking is what role will I play and where will He lay his hand in my life in this season...

But the word that just LINGERS in my heart and my prayer is community. This notion of friendship and intimacy... It all sounds so risky. Besides, I've never been good at maintaining friendships. I'm good at leaving and protecting and hiding, but I was never too good at being present. A pastor once said, "we don't love because it's comfortable for us, but we love so that others may know the comfort of knowing Jesus." 

I'm reading Job right now and if you are unfamiliar with the book, it is about this great, God-fearing man who is tested and stripped of all his earthly possessions to see if he still says faithful to God. At this point, his friends come to pay a visit...
Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward the heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw his suffering was very great." — JOB 2:1-13 (ESV)  
I love this picture of friendship. I think it's so beautiful and selfless... I think this is the picture of "community" that I'm holding onto, and as much as I desire to have that community surrounding me, I also desire to be that kind of community for someone else. I think that is what God is calling me to be right now — a friend. A friend who goes out of his/her way to sympathize and comfort... A friend who weeps and laments with them and sits with them all because they simply see the hurt and see the need.

I think God wants me to experience that comfort and intimacy, and he also wants to use me to be that comfort and intimacy for someone else. And although a role of a friend was always challenging for me to uphold in the past, I think the Lord has really been opening my eyes and softening my heart to see the hurt and the need of others... I want to learn how to love others, regardless of my comfort, but so that they may know the comfort of knowing Jesus.

May I learn to be a friend, as Jesus was a friend first to me.



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