CITY GIRL | Friendship
A DEVOTIONAL SERIES
by Anna Lind Thomas
Proverbs 17:17 ESV
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
I have a close friend who used to write for me on a humor website for women I created about 8 years ago. She was incredibly talented and hilarious - we became fast friends.
Since I had built a large following, I often mentored her, giving advice and guidance on how she too could build a successful writing career. I had just landed an agent and even guided her on how to attract her own.
Then, one day, she was complaining that she was having trouble writing. Videos were starting to become popular on social media, so I encouraged her to do funny videos to get the creative juices flowing. She thought it was a good idea, and filmed short videos in her car while running errands throughout the day.
I’m still in shock about what happened next. She went viral. Mega viral. And not just once, but over and over and over again. Nearly overnight, she had millions of followers, spreads in magazines dedicated to her genius and a 2 part book deal with an advance so huge, it would change her life forever.
I must say, I was so happy for her, I spent months praising God for blessing my dear friend.
I was racked with so much jealousy, I could chew up gravel and spit out nails.
Of course, I kept this from her. I would say things like, “OMG, this is so exciting!” and “Talk about the Lord’s favor, girlfriend!”
But all I really wanted to do was lie down and beg Jesus to beam me up. At least in heaven we’re all sorta rich and famous equally, amirite?
I was not the kind of friend Solomon speaks of in Proverbs 17:17. Even though I considered myself a good friend, my emotions showed me that I was only a good friend when my ego wasn’t being tested - which doesn’t make me a true friend at all.
God was patient with me. I didn’t want to be jealous - I wanted to be filled with God’s love and to be like Christ, humble in spirit. To love, unconditionally, without ego. To be so satisfied with God’s blessings in my own life, that I didn’t blink twice when someone I love is showered with God’s favor. I wanted to be filled with happiness and celebration, not jealousy, resentment or fear.
And when I declared my true heart’s desire to God, he gave me the grace to not just endure it, but to be thankful that God was using our friendship as sandpaper to continuously smooth my rough edges.
God wants us all to have beautiful friendships during times of crisis, and times of joy. In the face of jealousy, or competition, favor and trials. To be there, for each other, selflessly. To give, especially in times when they can’t give back.
Friendships can be the sandpaper that smooths our edges and they can also be the nourishment that allows us to grow so beautifully into the character of Christ.
Quite simply, a true friend embodies love - at all times.
If we want that kind of friend to love us, we must be that kind of friend to others first.
Even if they get rich and famous.