ACW

ACW

Monday, 20 November 2017

Friends by Sue Russell

Perhaps, like me, you know a lot of people. Some you may like a lot; some you may call friends. I consider myself singularly blessed when it comes to friends, and this came home to me forcibly recently when I met up with a friend met at university who subsequently went to live in Canada. Although she has been back to the UK several times it is difficult to see everyone you'd like to see when your visit is short, and although we kept in touch we hadn't actually seen one another for 28 years! Somehow, though, I had every confidence that our friendship doesn't rely on the details of life, and that we would be able to talk freely and without any awkwardness - and so it proved. I have another friend, of long standing, with whom I would literally trust my life and deepest secrets. She is the soul of loyalty. I did not expect to find any more, to be honest, as I grew older - not of such kindness and faithfulness; but God is good, and I have. She knows who she is! In addition there are those who you feel might just become very good friends, given the chance; and these don't depend on geographical proximity or even on similarity of temperament, background or experience. At some significant level you somehow seem to understand and appreciate one another - a rare and wonderful blessing.
Jesus himself valued friendship: his was a lonely path, but he surely took some comfort in his closest friends, even when they misunderstood him; even, indeed, when they denied  and deserted him. In John 15 he says to them, 'I do not call you servants any longer...Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.' Paul makes a startling claim in Romans 5: 'We were God's enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son.' It astonishes me that God would want such creatures as us to be his friends, but apparently it is so. Again, in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes,'Our message is that God was making the whole human race his friends through Christ.' 
Would I be considered unforgivably 'up myself' (as I recall my children saying scornfully as teenagers) if I quoted from one of my own books on the subject?  Well, I shall risk it. One character says to another, 'Wherever you are, wherever I am, whatever is happening, we will always care for and trust one another. I feel almost as certain of this as that I will one day open my eyes in heaven.'
 There are many kinds of friendship, of course: many depths, many ways of expressing the relationship; but it seems to me that we as members of ACW have a unique privilege and opportunity. We may live far apart, have little in common in the way of interests, experience, background, age, worship styles, denomination; but we have two things in common which I assume are extremely important to us all. I have noted over the last few years an increase in mutual sharing of concerns and prayerful support. Times of getting together - at conferences, writers' days, weekends - encourage the formation of new friendships and the development of existing ones. We should celebrate this, and always realise what a precious gift it is, at the same time keeping our antennae sensitive to those who are somehow on the margins. They too are God's friends.




Sue's latest novel 'A Vision of Locusts' was published by Instant Apostle in October. 


4 comments:

  1. I was so blessed and warmed by this Sue, thank you. (And it was totally appropriate for you to quote from your book and I'm glad you did so, definitely not up yourself!) x

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  2. This is so encouraging Sue. Thank you. Friends are indeed a blessing and it's wonderful, as we get older, to make new ones as well as to enjoy the old ones. I read an article the other day about this - how we need people to enter our lives at every stage, as well as those who have been with us through many of them. Great post.

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  3. I am certainly thankful that you have entered mine! Look forward to more merry meetings.

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