Unity of Friends

Last night, I had a situation come up late at night that required my presence. My roommate and I were both up til 3 AM that night and it was a difficult night for me. Twice during the night, I went to the restroom simply because I felt so sick. Nothing happened at those times, but for a season, it sure felt like it did. It’s certainly a comfort though living with someone who I knew that if something had happened, he would have been there immediately.

I’ve talked about the team my roommate and I make some before. When we had the Mormons visiting recently, he and I were working on the same strategy though often coming at it from different points. We’re quite different in some ways, but those ways are the ways that we complement one another the best.

Last night, I saw more of that. It wasn’t just us, but there were other people involved. Towards the end, it was simply us men helping another fellow man in an hour of need. It was then that I saw much of what made my friends so great. While we all belong to the same organization and we all work in it, while we were there, rank did not matter. Each person used their own strength and they supported the other.

It makes me think of Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 where Solomon talks about the benefit of friendship. In a book that is usually so pessimistic, this is one bright light. I ponder some if my friend hadn’t had us there last night, what would have happened? I had my concerns, of course, and we were weighing the options on how to handle this. Someone would say “I don’t know how he’ll react to this,” with my answer is “Do we know how he’ll react to anything?”

It’s one response I don’t get. We can predict how people will react, but people are not machines. We cannot know for sure how they will react. My friends would likely predict that if they mention Smallville in my presence, I will have my eyes light up. Let’s suppose though that I’ve been really sick all day and I was vomiting and about to pass out. Having me walk into a room in a state ready to pass out might not even be changed by mentioning Smallville.

On the other hand, let’s suppose that I had asked a girl out and she said yes and not only that, but she gave me a kiss. It could be that when I got home, that I would hear friends saying “Smallville”, but my mind is still back there at the event that happened when I got the kiss. The point is that people are not machines and we cannot predict with certainty what people will do.

We chose to do what we thought best though. My roommate was the one that said something that needed to be said first. That was his strength in this case. I was worried about how this friend would take things and just got nauseous in thinking about it. However, when it came to the questions that my friend had, that was when I was the one who stepped in and handled that part.

This was a great blessing though and as I’ve told my friend now, you’ve found out who your real friends are now and how they’ve flocked to you. Indeed, we have. I even had called in sick to work today because, well, I was nauseous of course, but also because I had stayed up so late. I get sick pay anyway, but even if I hadn’t, my friend needed me. That was more important.

My friend’s character I believe is greatly improved as well as revealed. I was amazed last night and told him his heart was a heart of gold. He was more concerned about his fellow friends than he was about himself. I wondered if I would be the same way. I might have been, but that’s one of those things that my personality type just wonders about.

It’s a great gift that God has given us in friends. Some of us have this idea that it’s Jesus and I all the way. That sounds good, but it’s not at all. God did not make us to exist in isolation. He made us to relate to other human beings. This starts with family, continues with friendship, and can culminate in the ultimate friend in the case of marriage. The heavenly culmination however is, of course, entering the presence of God. In the terms of the four loves, we go from Storge, to phileo, to eros, and to agape. Each one goes beyond the other but I don’t believe destroys the other.

Thank God for them also. Where would we often be without these friends? Now when these Mormons came by, for one week my roommate was away seeing his family and couldn’t be back in time. He trusted me to answer them as I would have trusted him had it been me away, but it is so much better when he is there with me. That is when the teamwork comes into play.

Friends. I thank God for them. I hope you thank him for yours as well.

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