My Friend

It’s fairly cold today in Chicago. And a song I wrote and recorded some years ago comes to mind just now:

(from Three Below Zero –Winter Sun, Glenn Kaiser Band)

But if you wonder
if you’ll ever get warm again
When it’s three below zero,
you got to find yourself
the warmth of my Friend
So when it’s three below zero
you got to find yourself
the warmth of my Friend

Something some of us never recognized until we graduated high school… or in some cases, college/university: plenty of friends are not forever.

As time goes on you might move from this place to that, one job to another. Your desires change and no longer coincide with another’s. Perhaps you learn some lessons along the way and so your interests and/or the concerns of someone else you’ve been close to are just not what they once were. Separation happens.

On top of all this we live in a mega-mobile age. Moving about is the norm. Now, most cultures and subcultures are easy to explore via your phone or tablet with a click.

Cliques come and go, but actual friendship disintegration is rather easy to understand.

So are the roots of loneliness, lack of ongoing community and commitment.

There came a point in my journey when even my closest friends couldn’t help solve my messes -and there were plenty.

I was a child of divorce, of narcissism which I fully expanded upon (!), carrying around a nature (still all-too present) where I was my own regular, constant focus. This and all I mention above became elements of an award-winning recipe for self-loathing and downward spiral.

When I heard that “knock on my door”, when the risen Jesus Christ reached out to me things not only became clear: I found power to change in the best of ways.

I did not become, nor am I now fully healed, flawless, perfect, continually satisfied with myself, my life, every friendship and so on. But I am thoroughly convinced I’m forgiven, find daily grace for forgiveness, forgiving myself, loving my wife, family, friends and indeed, even those who decide I’m an enemy.

I not only have a best Friend but began to learn how to BE a friend.

Mirrors can be friends or enemies too. We often find ourselves noticing the imperfections, no? God has always been aware of them. And He has always been mindful of you and me whether you believe that or not.

Here are two scriptures that have continually spoken to me from the earliest days of my ongoing relationship with Jesus:

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. -Proverbs 18.24

God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. -Psalm 68.6

I have in Him a friend Who will never leave me, nor has He ever left me.

Families break up. Brothers split. Friends leave for “greener pastures”. People die. Not Father, Son, Spirit. Not. Ever.

I was solitary for sure! Nobody could live inside my head, heart or troubles. Nobody could self-destruct me… that was my responsibility.

But I don’t live in a spiritual desert and have not for the better part of my life. In those times I did rebel. In current moments when I do I know Who will listen, Who to immediately talk to, to ask forgiveness of, to trust in.

He has linked me with a number of close and mostly, life-long friends who help, but of course nobody can take God’s place and BE God for me -nor do they need to be!

I’m no fan of “prosperity preachers” nor do I care much about material gain but knowing HIM relationally has enriched my life beyond any bank account. The wealth I have in relationship to Him and His people put every other sense of wealth on earth in its place -underfoot.

Love fills the heart, not the wallet.

One last thing on this line of thought- friends serve. They don’t just talk or sing about serving. This is for me, the difficult part of friendship. “Going the extra mile” might come easy to you, but often not to me! I confess I have a lot to learn and a lot more dying to self to do, but I’m on the road and I know the direction.

Then again, to claim ignorance is no longer an option to loving service in authentic friendship.

Whoever said “Life is a journey not a destination” was correct! But oh the sense of peace and joy to be on the way with the One Who tells us “I am the way, the truth and the life”!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

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