The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart rejoices,
and I praise Him with my song.
Psalm 28:7 (HCSB)

Series Focus: “Coffee Talk”

High-pitched squeals and giggles erupted in the air as two young girls frolicked in friendly play. The delight experienced in those afternoon moments birthed the beginning of a beautiful friendship. As the girls grew, their childhood fun transitioned to after-school activities, weekend bike rides, and chatter about boys. The friends offered listening ears, shoulders to cry on, deep belly laughs, and helpful encouragement. Their bond strengthened exponentially through the years.

Fast forward to marriage, children, economic struggles and victories, faith journeys, home purchases, elderly parents, and the births of grandchildren—that friendship remained. Not always consistent. Some years not talking at all. Yet, both knew at any given moment they could reach out to say, “Hey, friend,” and the other would be right by her side to listen, help, strengthen, and defend. Both knew their hearts were safe with the other.

A true friend is a delight, bringing joy; a defender, providing a refuge; and a doer, taking action to sustain and support that friendship.

Paul wrote in Romans 12:9-10 (NLT):

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Pretending to love a friend will never sustain that relationship. There must be trust, vulnerability, honesty, and protection in the relationship. Even in moments of disagreement, frustration, disappointment, and pain, friends can choose to love each other, promote the good, and honor one another.

In 1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV), Paul said:

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

A friendship spanning the years isn’t make-believe. I’m living proof! I hope you have the experience of lifelong friends. You may not have been in touch with each other every year, but through the years, you can pick right up where you left off last. I look back on such great times of playing dolls in the basement, sitting on the living room floor eating McDonald’s fries off a paper plate, weekend sleepovers, afternoon drives and climbing trees, college lunch breaks of grilled cheese sandwiches, and so many more budding friendship moments…

Those giggling girls have grown into beautiful friends in my adult life. Each one would delight in spending time together again; come to my rescue and defense, if needed; and do, in love, whatever I needed at that moment. I can trust them and they can trust me. My heart has found a safe spot in them; and theirs in me.

Jesus is our very best friend, our defender, and the delight of our souls. This week, reflect on your friendships and contemplate if you are a friend like Jesus. Then do what it takes to be a safe place for your friends’ hearts.

Holding Fast to Hope,
Maryann

Scriptures: Psalm 28:7; Romans 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:6-7; John 15:13; James 1:22; 1 John 4:7-8

Video will be posted on Friday following each Monday Morning Hope post.