I’m learning in those dark, hard, painful times in our lives that many times God blesses us with the sweetest of friendships to help us endure. Friends who become His tangible hands and feet. Friends who literally wrap their arms around us, speak words of encouragement into our brokenness, and help us to feel loved.
Ohhh the amazing power of a dear and loving friend given to us at just the right time!
I know, at least, this has been true in my life. One of the many blessings of growing older is that I get to see God’s hand a little clearer in my life with each passing year. I see this beautiful tapestry of God’s grace and love weaved in and out of every detail of my story, which ultimately is His story.
My parents divorced at the end of my third grade year and that summer my mom, brother, and I moved to a small farming community in rural Indiana for a fresh new start. At a time when I felt distant from God and my life was shattered, God had already begun to write a beautiful redemption story.
I just didn’t know it yet.
For only one year, I lived across the street from Whitney and her sweet family. Her younger sister, Stephanie, and I became best friends as we played together with our dolls, dreamed together about our futures, and did each other’s hair (in the latest fashions of course… normally that meant with a lot of hairspray!).
Unaware in the brokenness and mundane days of my fourth-grade life, God was building, growing, and forging a friendship that would span decades.
So many times in our lives we want the easy days. We want the pain-free days. We want to live on earth as if we are already in heaven.
But we aren’t in heaven yet and we live in a fallen, sinful world. We live in a world that is full of pain, heartbreak, and regrets. But God in His mercy and grace gently weaves stories of redemption, second chances, and forgiveness into our lives through the friendships He so graciously gives to us.
We see one of the most powerful stories of friendship this week as we read about the relationship between David and Jonathan.
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. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. – 1 Samuel 18:1-4
“Jonathan’s expressions of love and friendship toward David paint one of the most beautiful portraits of a covenant in the Word of God.” – Beth Moore
This beautiful covenant had three parts: visually, sacrificially and symbolically.
Visually– Jonathan was generous in giving David his robe, tunic and weapons.
Sacrificially– Jonathan gave the throne, what was rightfully his, to David. Jonathan wanted what God wanted, even if that meant he wasn’t the chosen one to lead his nation. Jonathan sacrificed his position, his right, and his dreams when he removed his robe and tunic and placed them on David. Jonathan could have been like his father, King Saul, and fought God’s plan. He could have held onto his rightful position as the next heir to the throne. He could have become jealous of David and God’s blessing on David’s life. He could have… but he didn’t.
Ohh what a better world we would live in if we would all submit to God’s will for our lives instead of fighting for our rights. For our wills. Our ways.
Our lives are not for our own glory but for God’s. Sometimes we forget that, but Jonathan did not.
Symbolically- Jonathan symbolically gave David his weapons to show that he would do everything he could to protect David and make sure that one day David would wear the crown that God had chosen David to wear.
In Jonathan, we see a man who loved God more than he loved himself. He willingly submitted his life to God’s will and supported David wholeheartedly. We need more “Jonathans” in this world.
What an amazing example of true friendship we have in Jonathan and David.
But even more amazing is the friend we have in Jesus. He left His throne in heaven and came for us because He loves us. He sacrificed more than a title or a position; He sacrificed His life so that we can have forgiveness of our sins and healing from all our pain, brokenness, and regrets. He came to redeem.
And redeem He has! That fourth-grade friendship, which started out over 30 years ago in a place of pain, fear, and brokenness has created a beautiful, life long friendship… and the results of it have even touched your life!
Stephanie and I remained friends long after my mom remarried and we moved to another state. For years we kept in touch – even going to each other’s high school graduation parties, being in each other’s weddings, and visiting each other when we had our babies!
From my sweet friendship with Stephanie I was able to keep up with Whitney over the years, who is now one of my dearest friends too and I know dearly loved by all of you as you read her writings here at Love God Greatly!!!
Ohhh friends, I don’t know what you are going through right now but I want to encourage you with this: God can redeem your situation and create a beautiful story out of it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day Whitney and I would work together to encourage women around the world to be in His Word! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that one day I’d have sweet translators from around the world in my home to feed, love, and serve alongside my sweet friend, Stephanie!
God is sooo good!
He writes better stories for our lives than we can ever imagine! Trust Him today with your story. I promise He brings beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
Let’s Talk: Do you have a David and Jonathan friendship? Who is it and what has God taught you through it?
Love God Greatly!
Challenge: Friendships are near and dear to God’s heart! This week, reach out to a friend who God has used to encourage you in times of pain, heartache, or loss. Thank them and let them know the impact he/she has had on your life!
Week 5 Video:
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Week 5: Memory Verse
Week 5: Reading Plan
Did you miss last Friday’s blog post from our dear friend, Terria? You can find it here!