Below is a devotional by Nedra O Brien, my late mother-in-law. For years before she passed away, Nedra wrote devotionals for her church bulletin. Every once in a while I post them on my blog in honor of her memory.
I came across this quote recently… “The friends one chooses determine to a large extent one’s destiny and success in life.” I got to thinking about it and realized there’s a lot of truth there. I thought about various friends I’ve had over the years, some who are still friends and those who are no longer a part of my life. When I think about it, they really have had a big impact on my life in one way or another.
When I was a teenager, I had an older person tell me that I probably wouldn’t have more than two or three close friends as an adult. I thought that was absurd, since, like most teenagers, I was surrounded by friends! But his words turned out to be true and I now thank God for those few close friends I have! They’re what I call my “Proverbs 17:17 friends”. In fact, they are more than friends! Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all time, and a brother is born for adversity,”
The footnote in my Bible says, “Friendship is at its best, not in prosperity, but in time of trouble.” As I see it, a lasting friendship has nothing to do with popularity, power or finances, and has no place for selfish motives or ambitions. It’s founded on common interests, goals and dreams and it’s grounded by mutual love and respect.
I once received an email from one of my Proverbs 17:17 friends, which just happened to be about friendship! It went like this: “A friend should be radical. They should love you when you’re unlovable, hug you when you’re unhuggable, and bear with you when you’re unbearable. A friend should be fanatical. They should cheer for you when the whole world boos. They should dance when you get good news, and cry when you cry, too. But most of all a friend should be mathematical. They should multiply the joy, divide the sorrow, subtract the past and add to tomorrow. They should also know how to calculate the need that is deep in your heart.”
Isn’t that wonderful? When you have a friend or two like that, it stands to reason they would have a huge impact on your destiny and success in life. When you have a decision to make or you come up against some difficulty, it’s good to have a friend who will cheer you on or cheer you up. And when you have something to rejoice about, it’s so uplifting to have someone you love rejoice with you.
And you know what? As believers, we all have that kind of friend in Jesus. His own words, found in John chapter 15 say, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”