“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I have said this many times before in past writings, but I think it is always good to repeat some things, especially if the message is an important one. So by giving your life over to God there is nothing you cannot do, for God has promised to always be there for you. In addition and more to the point I think sometimes we get so wrapped up into making the “Grand Plan” for our own life’s that we fail to see the plan God has for us. He brings people into your life not by accident but for a reason. He gives us challenges through some of those people which I will address later, while others we learn a great deal from. I have always told my students to always be watchful of those people who are in your life and of those who you meet and who become a part of your life whether their role is large or small, because God allowed them to be there exactly at the appointed time and hour they arrived.
The greatest example I have is my closest circle of friends, which numbers all of three people. One I meet many years ago and found to be extremely interesting, very talented, though they did not think themselves talented. This friend made lots of money and became my greatest of alley, a person who I would never betray as I know they would not betray me either. However, this friend has a few pet peeves which is extremely irritating and we have had our fare share of ups and downs within our friendship, but despite this we remain strong in our friendship which has yielded so many blessings I can not begin to write them here in this blog post. In addition I must confess that God brought this person into my life at a time I desperately needed someone to count on, someone I could trust, someone who would help me fight the good fight when my marriage went south for the long cold and dark winter. This friend showed me that life isn’t as hard as it seems, and that I can accomplish great things, this person showed me that I can have happiness in my life and that I deserve happiness in all parts of my life. I have learned and am still learning so much from this first friend and I feel so blessed every day for God’s good grace to have shined on me as it did when He ordained our friendship. At this moment I feel it necessary to state for the record that this friend has chosen a life of solitude, one absent of having a family which is our greatest difference coupled with the idea they are extremely private, which from time to time strains our friendship exceedingly so because I do not believe in keep secrets, and this friend lives a very secret life, so much so I will never fully know them any deeper than that of being friends. My second friend I knew for only six years and he was there for me to toughen me up, to mold me and to make me stronger, he showed me that not all women are like my ex-wife, and because of his friendship my pain and shame of being a divorced man was more bearable, as he knew what to say and how to say it because he too was divorced. We would spend time talking about our past as children for here too we had lots in common, and I looked up to him as like the big brother I never had. He is a man whom is driven by much of the same wants and desires as myself, and when his girlfriend kicked him out of the house I was there to pick him up and give him a bed to sleep on, just as he would have done for me. My third friend I have not known for very long. In fact one could say I have never meet her, in person, but the stories we share and the time we spend has so deeply impacted me I often times find myself reflecting on our wonderful conversations which always brings a smile to my face. When I am sad I can tell her all about it and know she is not judging me as I would never judge her. In our conversations she always comes up with things that I would not expect from her, because her words that she carefully chooses always makes me think very hard about my situation or whatever I was sad about. I have come to see how wise she is, and in that knowledge she holds I feel safe and secure. Our correspondence has made me a better father, as she gives me very good advice in all things relating to raising a teenage daughter, which again is extremely surprising because her child is still very young. Her life’s story, though I will not go into detail, is very inspiring and I treasure every second we spend chatting, and I hope one day soon I will be able to meet her face-to-face so I can look into her eyes and say thank you for being such a wonderful person and for being so kind to me.
I offer these three examples in the hopes you can reflect this year on those people God has placed into your own life, the awesome roles they play, and see exactly how great God is and how many miracles He works daily through the people who are there to enrich your life. Ask yourself, “What would my life be like if I never meet these people and became such close friends?”
I also wanted to comment on what comes from true friendship, for when true friendship is established there is also born the sense of loyalty, and from that loyalty is born love. When we care about those we call our close friends it is not shameful to recognizing these deep emotions as for what they truly are. However, before there can be any kind of love there first must be friendship.
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14
There is exceptional correlation to the second part this posting which is driven home most notably by the Apostle Paul who wrote 13 letters, which accounts for one-fourth of the entire New Testament. These writings are known as “Epistles”, Philippians being one of four prison epistles as he wrote it while being imprisoned by the Romans. I chose this one as we reflect on our good friends we must also reflect on those people who have placed great challenge and sometimes great pain in our life’s as we must learn to do what Paul did and what he wrote most about, that of forgiveness. For forgiveness shines like a beacon throughout the entire Bible, it was the message our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke most about. It is the topic we hear most often and is the hardest of things to do.
As I told you about my greatest of friends, which I admitted to placing within an inner circle of only three friends, I have many friends of varying degrees. I also have those people who I cannot call friends but rather I look at as people who have hurt, and or have betrayed my trust, loyalties, and who have destroyed a one time friendship. We all have people in our lives who fit this description to some degree. I would be lying if I did not say my ex-wife is chief among this group, but I also in admitting to that truth will also say that the challenge they pose is not the loss of a friendship or the pain they afflicted that caused the friendship to end, but rather in the act of finding a way to truly forgive them for the pain they have caused. So in light of this stark reality Paul calls all of us to forget the past, and to look forward to what lyes ahead. This is the greatest of desires and hopes I hold for all of you this New Year 2012. I will pray to God to give us all the strength and courage to forgive those who have hurt us the most in the past and who may have gone out of their way to continue a brutal punishment upon us for whatever their reasons. May God grant us the love it takes to forgive them anyway. In so doing may God give them peace and show them a better way through his absolute forgiveness.
Happy New Year 2012