As I was preparing for a women's Bible study, and a teaching for my youth ministry, the two topics for the group had the same message on relationships. I was blown away on how the issues of diverse groups would be the same for the same week. As I prayed before preparing my talks, I began to recognize God had something He wanted to address regarding the importance of relationships.
A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. (Proverbs 27:9)
The women's group will be studying the importance of good friendships and the importance of nurturing the friendships. I began to wrestle with what makes friendships hard, and the answer is we are to busy to take the time to nurture these relationships. It seems with work, family, extracurricular activities, and life, no one is taking the time to nurture relationships. Most would agree that it is hard to find the time.
As I reflected on this and looked back to some of my best memories of friendships, I thought back to a town we had lived in for over nine years. We were the busiest in our lives with the girls in lots of activities, my husband and I working full-time jobs, and we were in a total of three Bible studies a week. However, in spite of the hectic schedules, we found time to be with friends at least twice a month. We would gather for some wine, food and games. Looking back, what came to my heart is that these times of gathering with others brought joy and peace among our busy lives.
Instead of being stressed and emptied due to our crazy lives, we were full and at peace. We could hardly wait for the next get together!
Now it seems that the only time we get together is when the SOS signal comes out. What do I mean by SOS? It means your friend is in dire need. I have to admit when the message comes, I wonder if I have the time to answer. I do always say, "Yes," and the time necessary is always available.
Now I want to point you to my teaching for the youth night. The topic was on our relationship with Jesus. I began to think of the women, and the SOS friendships and the correlation came together that we often do the same thing when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. With our busy schedules, we start looking for ways to find more time so we can make our lists of to do's achievable. Sometimes our time with the Lord takes a big hit.
Instead of making time with the Lord a priority, we often let our relationship with Him slip. Until something dire happens in our life and we send out an SOS signal.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:13-15)
The good news is the Lord will be there for you. He loves you, and He will not forsake you. But here is the question I asked the youth. How do you feel when your friend only needs you at SOS times? What do you think when that happens to you? Not one responded that they liked to only be a friend at times of need. Then I asked them about our Lord? No one said anything. I confess I had been in the same situation on both sides of the coin, an SOS friend, and a SOS daughter of God.
To leave you with this final food of thought, if we want to have joy and peace in our lives, we are going to have to carve time out for the things that will give us joy and peace. I challenge you to schedule in time for your friends at least once a month, or it will never happen, and to make time to spend time with the Lord every day.