It’s been said we are born into families, but we choose our friends. However, picking those tried-and-true souls is only half of the blessing.

Our friends choose us.

I’ve amassed four decades of friendships, and I’m filled with gratitude when I reminisce about the wonderful women who’ve left their footprints on my heart. The length and quality of those bonds depend on life’s season, but each has made a lasting impact. Some show up for a brief time. Others come and go, reappearing as circumstances in both our lives change. The precious ones endure for the long haul.

True, honest, sacrificial, there-for-you friends are a genuine commodity. In today’s instant gratification world, friendships can be undone with the click of a button. Well-meaning friends can become overwhelmed with a cramped calendar and choose not to pick up the phone. They can fall behind on returning texts. They may put off your lunch invitation or plea for a play date. Sometimes the once strong connection can seem a bit strained.

While all friendships ebb and flow, there are special people who do the heavy lifting for us. Luke 5 introduces us to the kinds of friends any of us would be blessed to have in our corner. In this passage, their paralyzed buddy needs the healing power of Jesus. So, they strap him to a mat, and carry him to the house where Jesus is staying. Getting in the door proves difficult, but they persevere. “When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’” (Luke 5:18-20)

Jesus moved in the paralyzed man’s life because of the faith of his friends. The same is true for each of us: when our friends approach Jesus on our behalf, their faith transforms our life.

All of us deserve a list of friends who would drop everything and carry us to Jesus. For me, they are:

  • Beth, my lifelong bestie who gave up her precious solitude during her child’s naptime to take my panicky phone call.
  • Amber, who reached across the table and held my hand as I spilled details of a devastating situation.
  • Valerie, who looked past her burgeoning belly to cry with me during my infertility struggles.
  • Lisa, whose big ears and even bigger heart absorbed my fear and offered peace in its place.
  • Val, who told me my words mattered and encouraged me to put them out into the world.
  • My Bible Study girls, who fill up my cup every time we study the Word (and who make me laugh so hard I wonder if it’s time for adult diapers).

These ladies have shouldered my various anxieties, absurdities, and grief. They’ve used their hearts and hands to carry me to Jesus and beg for mercy on my behalf.

My prayer is for every person to have flesh and blood blessings in the form of good friends. Who are two or three people who would gladly give up time to sit with you? The women who will listen without judgement? The gal who sends you an encouraging note? The friendly mom at your child’s school who always asks how you’re doing? The ones who lift you up to God’s throne even though you haven’t asked for their prayers? The wonderful people connected through our “Uncomfortable Grace” family who will take on your burdens? Even if you feel alone, I promise you there are ones near you willing to push their way past the crowds to place you to the feet of the Savior.

Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful…are the feet of those who bring good news.” For us, the good news can not only be the gospel of Christ, but a cup of coffee, a ride to work, an afternoon of babysitting, a listening ear, or a prayer whispered on your behalf.

The Bible says Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. I’m also happy for friends who’ve become like sisters. They are the ones strong enough to carry me to Jesus, and whose names will always be etched on my heart.

 

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