When the proverbial poop hits the fan in my life I have three people I go to immediately for prayer, wisdom and support. I can call, or I can text. Anytime and I know they will be there. Sometimes they encourage me and other times they rebuke me, but they are always FOR me. That makes all the difference. It is what I call Gospel Friendship.
Yesterday my Bible reading plan for 2013 (you can download some great reading plans here) brought me to the first few chapters of the Book of Job. In these chapters Job, a man who loves God, goes through some pretty tough stuff. All his animals get killed, one of his properties is destroyed and all his children suddenly die. Not a great day! Then, as if all that wasn't enough, Job gets a nasty skin disease, followed by some harsh words from his wife about his trust in God.
In chapter 3 some of Job's friends come to visit him. The Bible say they sat with him in silence and sorrow for a week. It is an example of Gospel Friendship. Unfortunately, Jobs friends eventually open their mouths and say all kinds of dumb things to Job about his situation. Not Gospel Friendship.
I cherish the friends in my life who deal with me in spirit and in truth. I am such a broken guy that I need the wise input of loving friends to help me. I need friends in my corner praying for me and lifting up my burdens to God. I need friends to call me out when I'm acting the fool, and friends who will hold me accountable when I fall short of acting like the man I desire to be. I need friends who will sit beside me in silence when I'm in sorrow, and who will speak God's Word to me when I need it.
I'm am not smart enough, sanctified enough, or strong enough to get through life alone. Thank God that he puts people in our lives to help us. Look for these people and when you find them commit to being open, authentic and honest before them. They are put their by God for your good and for your growth.