The Miracle of Friendship - Encouragement for Today - April 14, 2015

Melanie Shankle

APRIL 14, 2015

The Miracle of Friendship
MELANIE SHANKLE

"As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." 1 Samuel 18:1 (ESV)

One of my dearest friends is dying of cancer right now.

I realize that’s not really an uplifting start to your day. But it’s the reality. I am heartbroken at the prospect of losing my Jen. She’s been a constant presence in my life since we first met at 18 years old and she swept into a room wearing a denim wrap skirt and Cole Haan loafers that caused me to immediately reexamine all my personal wardrobe goals. She was exuberant and confident, and immediately I wanted to be her friend … if I could get over feeling so intimidated.

Fortunately, I did, and she quickly became one of my dearest friends as we learned all the ways we were alike and all the ways we were different. God used Jen to draw my heart back to Him as she demonstrated how to make faith a priority. I look back at that time and realize God very purposely knit our hearts together during those years. He knew all the ways He would use us to encourage and strengthen one another.

As we see in our key verse, 1 Samuel 18:1, God sometimes knits our hearts with others like He did with David and Jonathan. He puts people in our paths because He knows we’ll need them.

Jonathan was just what David needed at that stage of his life. David was a young shepherd thrust into the spotlight. And based on some of his future writings in the book of Psalms, maybe a little overemotional at times.

David was often overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and depression, and being hunted by a crazy king. (I can relate to all of these things with the exception of the crazy king.) But Jonathan loved David, believed in him, and sought God’s best for him. Jonathan’s friendship was what David needed to grow into the king and leader he was to become.

As women, many of us spend our early lives thinking about marriage and hoping to find Mr. Right. Then we realize our husbands don’t necessarily want to hear all about the best waterproof mascara or cry with us over the kid who’s failing math or eat cookie dough straight from the bowl. That’s why God gives us our girlfriends.

Beyond common interests, affection and a sense of humor — the aim of friendship is to sow into each other words of eternal life and blessing. We remind each other of God’s wisdom and provision, refresh each other’s spirit and strengthen each other’s faith.

Good friendships require walking with one another down some hard roads, losses, a bad diagnosis, financial problems and much more. We need friends to help us remember what God has done for us and that He will be faithful.

In 2 Samuel 1:26b, David says of Jonathan, " … Your friendship was a miracle-wonder, love far exceeding anything I’ve known — or ever hope to know," (MSG). That’s ultimately what God gives us in friendship: a real life, everyday miracle in the form of another person.

But having your soul knitted to another isn’t for the faint of heart.

It means you bear your own hurts along with those of your friend. You cry when they cry and laugh when they laugh and feel like your heart will break wide open when you face not having them by your side.

But it’s worth it because they cause you to love harder, laugh louder, live richer and become more than you could ever be without them. It’s putting your heart and your name in the hands of another person and saying, "I trust you with all of this," as they do the same.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the friends You have given us to walk with us through life here on earth. Please show us ways to love each other better and take away any fear we have of being authentic about our struggles. Help us have open hearts that love the way You love. Thank You for knitting our hearts together with the people You know will make us stronger. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 27:17, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." (ESV)

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Real friendship takes effort. It’s forgiving and loving, making a casserole, and doing a carpool pickup. To celebrate friendship, check out Melanie Shankle’s new book, Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship.

Stop by Melanie’s blog today to connect with her and learn more about her writing and ministry.

Enter to WIN a copy of Nobody’s Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle. In celebration of this book, Melanie’s publisher is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 10 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, April 20.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Reflect on some ways your friendships have made you stronger and how God has used them in your life.

What are some tangible ways you can show your friends how much they mean to you?

© 2015 by Melanie Shankle. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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