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…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24)
Thinking back over some of your own personal experiences, what memories rise within you at the mention of the word friendship? Chances are that, even in the best-case scenarios, tucked among the good experiences are a few not-so-good ones. Maybe someone wanted too much from you. Maybe they wanted too little. Maybe you made the friendship a priority only to find it an option for the other involved parties. Or maybe the others made the friendship a priority and – somehow – you ended up counting it an option.  
Sometimes the truth hurts, but the fact is that our passage-of-focus is every bit as – if not more – applicable to Christ-followers today as it was when penned by the writer of Proverbs. Good friends, like it or not, are next to impossible to come by in a world of superficiality and shallow relationships. The quickest scroll through social media websites not only attests to this fact; it also has an uncanny ability to give one a false sense of belonging within an ever-growing crowd that ironically leaves us hurt and longing for authentic human interaction in times of of joy and times trouble.
Where ARE those 773 folks on my Friends List who constantly chirp that they’re here and praying for me anytime I need them?
At the risk of raining on someone’s parade, let me be blunt: they’re not there. They can’t be there because the bottom line is that real friendships – the ones that are open, honest, supportive, loving – those don’t and won’t happen without a unified, committed investment from each involved individual. 
So are you a friend who sticks? Because God is a friend who sticks, and He invites believers to become friends who stick like He does.
It’s a time-consuming role not meant for the fickle or easily-distracted because it calls each party to minister to and serve the other party or parties so that all the individuals then come together to for the purpose of ministry and service to persons beyond the parameters of that friendship. That’s a picture of God’s knack for orchestrating life at its best for believers, and it’s an awesome calling for us all.
And here’s the incredible part: God – being the God He is – set up a clear pattern for us to follow as we answer that call! He sent His Son, Jesus, in human flesh to live, die, and live again on earth as the ultimate act of extending friendship to each and every one of us (see John 15:13). That’s one unified, committed investment in my life that takes my breath away and leaves me pursuing with passion a day-to-day, up-close, personal, real friendship with Christ as He invests in ministering to me…
And I strive to live my life in service to Him…
And we combine our resources – mine come from Him anyway – to minister to and serve others.
With one simple step – acceptance of God’s invitation to eternal life – you and I through His resources put ourselves in the unique position of experiencing friendship with the Friend above all friends. In his book, Our God of Comfort and Hope, the Reverend Billy Graham explains the Father’s method of bringing us into not just relationship but friendship with the Godhead:
Think of it: the infinite, all-powerful, holy God of the universe wants to be your friend! This is a staggering truth. He wants you to know Him personally and to discover what it means to walk with Him every day. He wants you to know He is with you, and He wants to have communication with you through His Word and through prayer. He wants to comfort you when you are upset or anxious and to encourage you when you are dejected or depressed. He wants to guide you when you face difficult decisions, and He even wants to correct you when you are about to do something foolish or wrong.
Human friends may fail us, but God never will.
He wants to be our friend and for us to be His friends as well. Once you understand this, your life will never be the same.
Conclude Day 16 by reflecting on the following questions, then document your PRAYER conversation for today in light of your answers.
Does the description of God’s invitation of lasting friendship to man, as described above, cause you to view your relationship with Him in a different light than you have previously viewed it? If so, in what ways have your views been reshaped?
How might this reshaped view in turn alter the way you pursue and stick with your friendships with others?
Praise and Thanksgiving:
            In your own words, who is God to you personally? What has He done for you specifically
            in the past day or so – especially the little things – that surprised you or drew you
This one seems obvious, but consider making a deliberate commitment to go
            beyond “I’m sorry” and make a sincere commitment to do your best through Christ
            to lay these sins aside.
            Love Him. Worship Him. And don’t be afraid to do so with hymns or other songs of
            worship…sometimes mere words may not seem adequate to you. That’s ok!
Is there something you need to turn over to God? A circumstance you can’t control?
            Complicated relationship? Your own will that’s struggling with His will?
What are your concerns, your hopes, your dreams for your church? Your family?
Friends? Not-so-much friends? Yourself?
            End your conversation with the firm knowledge that you are God’s and God is yours.
            Affirm your trust in His all-powerful, never-ending presence in your life. Thank Him
            again for what He’s done for you in the past and what He will do for you in the future
            that’s in accordance with His will. This is an important and proactive demonstration of
            your faith in Him.

Copyright 2017 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.