I've never been one to seek out numerous friends. I had always been content with one, maybe two, and at one glorious time in my life, three local friends who I could go to with anything and everything. I have found in my recent years that I have been blessed beyond abundance with many quality friendships that sweeten my life. However, I think I misunderstood the following verse to mean that I should have one friend who I turn to with my everything:
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Every time I get close to someone...start sharing my heart...I tend to expect them to do the same with me...creating a mutually dependent relationship. However, every time I start looking to another human being for happiness, I get hurt. Something usually happens that reveals to me that, once again, I have thought too highly of myself in their life. It's disappointing to have that reality check. It's painful. Like water rushing in to fill a void, loneliness comes rushing in.
Until I remember.
Until I remember that the only friend who can handle my everything is not just any human. Nope. This girl is definitely too much for one person to handle! LOL!
The truth is that there is NO human on the planet who will not disappoint us at some time or another. The truth is that we are all flawed...and in our flawed state, we cause harm to others...sometimes on purpose, most of the time by accident.
Once again I am reminded that is why forgiveness was invented.
We often forget...I often forget...that there is no human other than Christ who can fill this void in my heart. We think that we can somehow be good enough...perform well enough...so that people will love us as much as we love them. But even Job, who God Himself called BLAMELESS (see Job chapters 1 & 2) was unable to avoid the hurts that can happen in friendships:
“A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends,
even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
“I have become a laughingstock to my friends,
though I called upon God and he answered—
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!
My kinsmen have gone away; my friends have forgotten me.
All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me.
I fully embrace the idea of friendship presented in this verse:
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
I rarely have trouble putting the needs of others in front of my own...
but the trouble comes when I expect them to do the same for me.
I start depending on them too much, placing them in the place of the one I turn to with every emotion I am feeling...but that is not their rightful position.
That place belongs to the only One who has sacrificed everything for me.
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.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:10-12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should
commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Peter 4:12-19
We all have been designed with a God-shaped void in our lives.
When we try to fill that void with anything, or anyone,
other than our Creator, we will always, always be found wanting.