Where Friendship Hides

By Cindy Koch

Take a look at that beautiful, put-together person sitting next to you. According to what I see, she has it all: a beautiful haircut, obedient kids, and a loving husband. She looks past me with a confident smile, and I am sure that her life is turning out just perfectly. But her happy, distant eyes scan the room and catch mine for just a second. Could it be?  I saw a silent, lonely scream trapped just behind her full, thick eyelashes.

And the more honest conversations I have, the more I realize we all long for the same thing: a good friend—someone to laugh and cry with, someone to explore our world with, someone to work alongside for the sake of the same goal, someone to watch our children grow older with, someone to honestly correct us when we’re wrong, and someone to trust, love, and encourage us. We are all searching. But only a few of us have our friend sitting beside us right now. And so most of us are screaming inside.

It’s not like we’ve never had that friend. I can look back on less than a handful of heroes that I can call my friend. They gave me breath to continue the race. They challenged me to run alongside. They lit my path with understanding and held me up when I was hurt. Calling them simply “my friend” doesn’t do justice to the life they inspired in me. And this is why it is now so empty without my friend by my side.

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Shame on me. I didn’t realize what I had in that friend. Shame on me. I didn’t know that only a few would touch my heart in this lifetime. Shame on me. I didn’t understand the depths of our friendship until I sat alone screaming.

I now see that friendship hides in the voice of the external Word. The voice that calms my fears is the Word of our peaceful Shepherd. The voice that is always on my side is the Word of forgiveness. The voice that encourages me to keep going is the Word of promise. The voice of my friend is the spoken Word of my God.

Hidden in Bible study, masked in prayer, planted in the heart of a sister in Christ, there is your friend. One who runs the race next to you, tears and joys and failings and forgiveness, there is your friend. Eating and drinking, side-by -side at the feast of the Lamb, there is your friend. The screaming woman sitting next to you, desperately needing your Word from Christ, there is your friend.

Cherish those true friends you have. Their Word from our God is your life.

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