Finding a good friend is sometimes easier said than done. The long two years of the pandemic haven’t helped, polarizing people with varying opinions on masks and vaccines and gatherings. It can be tempting to pull back and allow yourself to become isolated – but to do so means to lose out on the value of true friendship.
If we opt out of the work of building a friendship, we can end up like the guy I encountered in a Southern California park one day. I’ll call him Joe, and Joe had an advantage...
Joe had a box.
Not just any box. Joe had a Quaker Oats box with the gentle Quaker Oats man smiling at him from all sides. The front, the back, the ends – no matter which way he turned the box, there was the Quaker, beaming his benevolent smile, lending a listening ear.
A friend – ever constant, ever true.
With the Quaker, there were no misjudgments or miscommunications. No rollercoaster rides of emotions and no rejection – ever. He was the perfect friend.
Joe could open the darkest closets of his life with the smiling man and there were never any long looks of disgust or shame. No finger-wagging and no solutions to share. Joe felt safe being vulnerable because the smile never shifted.
The Quaker never asked anything of Joe, never pressured him to return a favor, never made him question his motives or intent. Plus, he was the perfect sounding board, always agreeable to what Joe was thinking or planning to do.
And Joe worshiped him because the Quaker allowed him to stay just as he was with no lengthy discussions about the person Joe could become.
As I walked past Joe and his box, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and I realized that Joe was a picture of so many people – myself included – who desire friendship but fear vulnerability.
Who wouldn’t love to have an ever-smiling friend to whom we could entrust the totality of who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly – without remorse and without reproof?
The reality of our lives is that, fearful of rejection or disapproval, we often guard our hearts and our relationships remain shallow and devoid of the benefits of friendship God intends.
Will a person fail you or say the wrong thing sometimes? Probably.
A friend may not be perfect, but then again, none of us are. We all have growth issues and family problems and crazy ideas that need to be tempered. That’s why God gave us each other.
You’ll find the friend you’ve been looking for is close by – if you courageously open your life to those around you. Find someone you can trust and open your heart to true friendship.
“A friend loves at all times...” Proverbs 17:17 NIV
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash
What’s your dream? I pray you will be inspired and encouraged to pursue all God has for you. Now, more than ever, we need people of faith to go, do and become the light for the world.