Today I celebrate the birthday of a dear friend. I haven’t known her long, but I will know her eternally. From the very beginning she has been the Proverbs 27:17 kind of friend. She challenges me to get into the Word of God. She encourages me when I share my dreams with her. She is the most amazing listener and provides words of wisdom from her heart. This friend is iron to my iron; she sharpens me. As the Benson Bible commentary states about the Proverbs 27:17 friend, she “quickens her ingenuity, enlivens her affections, strengthens her judgment, excites her to virtuous and useful actions, and makes her, in all respects, a better woman”. I am most definitely a better woman for knowing this friend.
My friend is also this kind of person, also described in Proverbs: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). Matthew Henry’s commentary defines this kind of friend, in part, as one who, “intimates the strength of those bonds by which we are bound to each other and which we ought to be sensible. Friends must be constant to each other at all times. That is not true friendship which is not constant. It will be so if it be sincere, and actuated by a good principle”. This is her. She loves at all times. She is constant, sincere and lives a life based upon good principle. The love of our Lord radiates from within her and touches the lives of those around her. I trust her to be there for me through times of adversity.
One thing I admire about my friend is her humility. Another quality she exudes is a quiet confidence. She would be embarrassed if placed upon a pedestal. She would be the first to remind others that her Source is our Savior. She has often said that she is “just the vessel”. She is “devoted to” others in love and “honors others above” herself. (Rom 12:10)
This is the kind of friend God calls each one of us to become. He gives us His written Word as a guide on how to be a friend who “loveth at all times”. Our Father provides us with a body of fellow Christians with whom to have relationships and from whom we can learn. God’s Word commands us to “love each other” (John 15:17).
In loving others I still mess up. I can read God’s guide book in the morning and by the afternoon have dropped the “love others” ball. None of us are perfect in this; not even my dear friend of whom I have written. But, we can seek forgiveness when we mess up and we can pick up the “love others” ball and start over again. We can do this because God is Love and His mercies are new every morning (1 John 4:8 and Lamentations 3:22-23). Thanks be to God for His never-ending love.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy which is new every morning. Thank You for Your love and provision. God, I praise You for the body of Christ and the loving friendships You have brought into my life. On this day, Lord, I especially thank You for my dear friend. Bless her today and always just as she blesses so many people. May You grow me into this kind of a friend and use me in the lives of others to become a friend for eternity. I ask these things Jesus’ Name. Amen.” Kami R. Lobner