Friendship God’s Unique Design

Today’s Truth
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 NIV).

Friend To Friend
I believe that God, our Father, understands a woman’s desire to have close friends. He made us that way. He created us to be in relationship.

In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel delivered some pretty incredible news to young Mary.  While still a virgin, she was going to conceive a child by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Savior of the world.  Before Mary could catch her breath, the angel continued by telling her, “Oh, by the way, your supposedly barren cousin, Elizabeth, is also pregnant with a child in her old age” (Jaynes version). He knew the young girl was going to need the encouragement of a friend who would understand, so before she could even ask, He sent her to Elizabeth.

So Mary, probably around sixteen years old, traveled one hundred miles from Galilee to Judea to spend three months with her friend.  When Mary walked into Elizabeth’s home, the older woman gave her a blessing. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! “(1:42-45).

Can you imagine the turmoil Mary felt as she traveled to Judea? “No one is ever going to believe me? Joseph could have put me away. And what will my parents think?”  Can you imagine how those words of encouragement were a balm to the young girl?  God divinely revealed His plan to Elizabeth and she in turn affirmed Mary before Mary even revealed her news to Elizabeth.  What a precious Lord we serve!

Mary was so encouraged, she broke out into song. She stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, no doubt helped with the labor and delivery of John and then returned home.

Jesus Himself had best friends.  Think of concentric circles with graduated smaller ones inside the larger like an archery target.  His first and largest realm of influence was to the multitudes. Next, He gave special attention to 72 men whom He sent out ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.   Smaller still, Jesus gathered 12 men to be His good friends whom He closely discipled, but then He chose an even smaller group of 3 to be His best friends — Peter, James and John.  These three men were privy to Jesus’ transfiguration (Mark 9:2), his deep sorrow in the garden (Mark) 14:32), and the joy of the empty tomb (John 20:3).  But then there was a “place of deeper still” — the bull’s-eye of friendship, if you will, that Jesus shared with no man.  It was a place reserved for God alone.

Before His arrest, Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him to Gethsemane to pray.  However, He left the three and went a “little farther” to be alone with His Father. It was a place where no man could join Him, no man could calm Him, and no man could reassure Him.  He had to go alone. I honestly believe that is a place we rarely go, but a place where Jesus longs for us to join Him.

Dee Brestin, in her book, The Friendships of Women, describes our relationships “like gently moving streams joining into one river, we round the difficult bends of life together, strengthening each other with a fresh water supply.  We are free and flowing and unconcerned with boundaries….We are afraid to run toward the ocean alone.  We feel a sense of panic in solitude.” (Dee Brestin, The Friendships of Women, (Wheaton Illinois: Victor Books, 1988) p37.)

What a beautiful picture of the refreshing, refueling, and renewing power of friendship.  However, our friends were never intended to meet our greatest need to be in relationship.  No woman – or man- can fill all our emotional needs, and if we look to one friend for everything or even a few, we’ll be doomed to disappointment. That is an empty place only Jesus can fill.

I have found that when I feel empty inside and try to grasp desperately at friends to fill the void, I come up emptier than before.  At those low points, friendships seem to elude me. The more frantically I grasp, the more elusive true friendships appear.  However, if I go to Jesus Christ, allow Him to fill me with His love, I move from needy to full, and from being a taker to a giver.  Then I find friendships are plentiful.

When God calls us to come “a little father” away to be completely alone with Him in the garden of our souls, but we go to others instead, we will be sorely disappointed.  People are a poor substitute for God.

However, I do believe that there are times when God gives us the wonderful gift of friendship with another.  When we find such a friend, we have found a treasure indeed.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, I thank You that You have created women to be in relationship with other women.  I pray that You will send me that special friend with whom I can share my deepest longings, dreams, desires, and struggles.  I pray that she and I will help each other grow closer to You each time we are together.  I thank You for the friends that I do have and pray that You will teach me how to be an encouragement to them.  Most of all, Lord, I desire that You call me Your friend.  Forgive me when I go to others, when I need to go to You.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
How do you think Mary and Elizabeth spent their time together?

What common ties did they have during their lifetime?

Why do you think God sent Mary to Elizabeth, rather than some other relative?

Write a letter to a woman who has been a mentor to you, thanking her for her friendship and example.  Tell her specific ways she has been a mentor to you.

Make a list of younger women, or perhaps younger women in the faith, to whom you can be a friend and mentor.

If you do not have a close Christian friend, ask God to send you one, and then pay attention to those who cross your path.

10 Responses to Friendship God’s Unique Design

  1. laudia August 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    This really helped me.My friendships have broken down and i felt like i had lost my balance.It has made me make god my friend..i talk to him all the time.this came to confirm that i could actually be God’s friend

  2. Evelyn August 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    I subscribed my seld to the emails but to be honest didn’t really read all of them… The sermon last night was great! God spoke to me the a missionary. I’ve been going through an emotional struggle of letting someone go and start worrying about me.. I usually go to a friend and ask for Advice, this time I did it different. I went to God and he’s starting to put things in place… Thank you for your words of encouragement.. God Bless.

  3. Willnette August 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Thanks for these words- As women we tend to look for a lot from the women in our lives we call friend and when we don’t get it we do feel empty and sometimes lost- why can’t we be more supportive of one another- you put a whole different perspective on it- God should be our best friend and we(I) need to learn when I need to go to Him and let Him lead me to a friend. Blessings

  4. Kimberly August 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Sharon, this really blew my mind. I love the visual painted of going to be alone with God without any other human there. The visual of Jesus at Gethsemane really reached into me.

    Praise You Lord God for using Sharon to reach out to us. Please help my unbelief and bring me closer to You. Show me a best friend. Show me to someone You would want me to be a mentor to. Help me Father God write a letter to my mentor. You know she’s a great woman after Your own heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  5. patty August 10, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Dear Sharon, I just had an incident happen with my best friend’ husband and my husband and now I feel the enemy trying to come between all of us. Please pray for us that we will all pray and that God will show us all how to handle this situation. This lady is the first friend that I have had in a long time that I feel really close to her and I don’t want anything to happen to our friendship.

  6. Shaunese August 11, 2009 at 4:53 am #

    Thanks so much for your words… this is a very timely message for me. I’m in a place where God is teaching me the importance of developing authentic relationships with other women. This has been good, but challenging. Currently, I’m praying that the Lord would help me to not go to the extreme of constantly seeking out friends and not being intentional with seeking Him. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

  7. Melissa August 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Sharon, thank you for you kind words of encouragement for all of us. Recently God has brought back a friend I haven’t seen in over 20 years. Now I am looking to see where God is going to allow me to take this relationship. I had a problem with the Bible verse that you used “Proverbs 19:2” I have the NIV Bible and my verse is “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, not to be hasty and miss the way” are you sure that the verse you used is the right one? I may be wrong, if I am please forgive me.

  8. Yvonne August 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi recieved this mail today, and enjoyed really enjoyed it.
    Haven’t any friends at the moment, so I have prayed the prayer for friends.
    Good one.
    I have passed it on to other people I know.
    Visited your site saw your books, and watched some of the videos, they are very good. And came away inspired. Hope to get some of your books to read in the future.
    God bless, Yvonne, England

  9. Yvonne August 13, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Hi recieved this mail today, don’t always get a chance to read them, but saw this one and really enjoyed it.
    Haven’t any friends at the moment, so I have prayed the prayer for friends.
    Good one.
    I have passed it on to other people I know.
    Visited your site saw your books, and watched some of the videos, they are very good. And came away inspired. Hope to get some of your books in the future to read.
    God bless, Yvonne, England

  10. sharla August 16, 2009 at 5:23 am #

    This devotional was very well communicated how Jesus showed us the intimacy that we are suppose to have with God the Father. I recently had a serious break up from my fiance’ and I thought I needed my girls to help me feel better and that if I had another man interest that that would help mne too. Yeah my girlfriends prayed with me and was a great listening ear but my true ciomfort came from reading God’s word and being in Bible study. You are right Sharon and thank you for reiterating that and making it clear where my priorities in relationships should be.

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