As he picked up my phone call and said my name, two dozen years flooded over me. We don’t talk very often, but not a day goes by that I don’t think about how my friend and his wife have shaped my life. From their days as college freshman to a spontaneous trip cross-country trip, from the long hours in the office to celebrating the Lord’s provision for their children, what a gift these two have been.
As I thought of all the contexts of our life together, I could identify specific meals, an evening conversation with her, a night playing games, sermons he preached, the time she confronted me about my impatience. There were gyms, church pews, beaches, classrooms, counseling sessions, and that annual August leadership retreat in Palm Springs we affectionately called “Heat Stroke.”
Our life together has experienced joys and heartbreak, learning to walk through conflict and begging God for restoration, drowning sorrow, and elating success. We encountered failure in ministry and watched heroes falter. We’ve rejoiced to see students trust Jesus as their refuge and mourned others who have turned away.
In short, we have lived life together following Jesus.
As one of our mutual friends, Jonathan Holmes wrote with Ed Welch in The Company We Keep: In Search of Biblical Friendship:
Friendship has the power and ability to tell a story that demonstrates that God came to us in Christ to redeem us for himself. P.24
We have worked hard for this relationship, especially as we have been separated for years by half the country. But in the end, this friendship is not our achievement. Our God has given to us the gift of ordinary moments redeemed by His grace, sharpened by His Word, and empowered by His Spirit.
This is joy.
Thank you, dear Friends–you help me to see Jesus more clearly.