Today has turned out to be a very wonderful day. I mostly go out golfing early in the morning before everyone has gotten up, usually a little after sunrise. Today I was on the golf course walking by myself. I spend this time praising God and spending time also in prayer for people. Today as I was finishing up on hole 9, I noticed a man treking around the pond walking towards me. I quick took my tee shot before there was a chance of hitting him. Once in awhile I see people walking the course just for exercise and this morning I thought that it was one of those situations where another individual was doing just that, getting his workout. As he approached I saw that his head was down and the bill of his hat was concealing his face. As he got close to me he lifted his head and I could see that it was my friend Mike. He worked with me in New Ulm when I was getting the Alternative school started there. We have kept track of each other over the years and he recently told me that he was working for a school district southwest of Rochester. I was so happy to hear that he will be within a half day driving distance from me. Mike and his wife Ilene both have such a gentle spirit and they both love the Lord and are active in serving him.
Like most of us, we have many people that we know, but few that are close friends. I remember a study that was done once about the number of people that the average person considers as close. They found in the study on average that we can put about 5 people in that category, that is aside from family. God at times brings individuals into our lives, either by our work, sports, family or church. Our circle of friendship revolves around the people that we spend the most time with. I once heard it said that we can judge our friendships as a reflective quality of our individual self. In other words, our friends are very much like ourselves, sharing the same beliefs, desires and concerns. As we grow in our lives we find that our friendships change as well. Sometimes we leave certain friends behind because we don't share the same beliefs and values anymore, whereas in other cases, others have gone different directions due to changes in their lives. At times, changes they have taken have caused them to go in difficult directions while on other occasions, they have matured in Christ and are searching for a deeper relationship with Jesus. By sharing with my friends this morning at breakfast and hearing from them about their lives, I too am reflecting on my walk in life and where God has taken me and where I would like it to go from here. I believe with all my heart that having these friends are ways that God causes us to grow and reach out beyond our present limitations. Sometimes they challange us to do more or be better at what we say and do. At other times they challenge us to go in the direction
where God wants us to be.
Once when I was young I was having problems with a new friend that I made. He was doing and saying bad things and that disturbed me greatly. My dad told me when I was discussing with him my dilemma, he said "Augie, in choosing a friend you have to ask yourself, is he helping you to be better or is he making you worse? When asking this question you to must look at this also, are you changing into someone you can respect or do you find that you don't like who you are when you are with him? If you can answer this that he is helping you to be better, then you have a good friendship. On the other hand, if he changing you into someone that you cannot respect, then it is time to end that relationship." Dad was of course right in helping me to be introspective. I have found that it was a bad relationship because I was doing things for the sake of our friendship that I knew was harmful to me and so I ended our relationship at that point. Sometimes we hold onto friends that are bad for us because we are afraid of being alone and lonely. While at other times we keep them because we might think that we will never find another friend that is better. God will provide for you, in the gospel of John it says "If you ask for anything in my name, I will give it to you."
n seeking God for direction concerning this, I have found that I have never been disappointed in having the friends that God has given me. Several times I have been very surprised in these friends that He brings my way. One such friend is a man who is 85 that I golf with, his name is Gerry. He is a Godly man who wakes up early every morning around 3 a.m. He reads God's word and prays for individuals and situations during this time. As it turns out, Gerry's best friend had died just before I met Gerry. His friend had the same occupation as me and as I have been told, he was a lot like me. Later Gerry's wife, Merrial later revealed to Gerry that she had been praying for a close friend for him. God had heard her prayers and He brought us together. Funny thing was that I was praying at the same time for such a friend. We golf together once a week and have breakfast at HyVee afterwards. We share concerns and agree to pray for the other's requests. If you are wanting a close friend, I know that God will honor your request and He will give you that person as He did for me. Have a great week! Augie