You Get to Pick Your Friends!


This morning, in church, as worship flowed, as people sang, I was overwhelmed with a gratitude that I felt all the way down deep in my chest.



Who am I, that God is mindful of me so much, that He surrounds me with family and great friends?



To be surrounded by family is enough! Gentle reader, it has not been a picnic in the park this past year. My family, my parents, my brother, my sister and her husband, my children and their spouses, my husband and I - we have all been dragged through the mud...behind horses...with ropes tied around us...over tumbleweeds...



...nevermind. I hope you get the idea. We don't have it all together - but together, we manage to have it all!



To experience two prodigals in one year's time is a pain beyond telling. Though they both are already doing well again, I will never be the same, I will forever walk with Jacob's limp. But for the hundredth time, I have wrestled through into a new identity that rests in grace, which means to rest in Christ Alone. Do we ever stop re-learning grace? Never. The whole New Testament and New Covenant rests on this fact. We will grow in grace until we know as we are known.



But there we were, Sunday morning...together. Imperfect, but Worshipping. Lost in love for Christ Jesus.



Not only that, but I get to go to church with my friends. Tim and I cannot conceive of attending church with mere acquaintances, or even strangers. Tim and I cannot conceive of friendship outside the work of the ministry. We simply believe that the best friends are the friends faithful to the Bride, the local church. The best of friends have their hands to the same plow, and relationships are made in the plowing and planting, and cemented in the Season of Harvest. Our dearest friends are either in our church, or in our network of churches, or in another network that has our same passion for the gospel of grace, and for New Testament Church. Wherever we find them, we can't imagine a friend of ours not being about the business of the kingdom. Is there time for being in "social circles" that have little to do with our Magnificent Obsession? Not really...



It struck me how that these people all around me could be anywhere at that moment. They could be in any number of other mega churches, enjoying a measure of anonymity. They could have slept in and went to a fancy brunch at a restaurant, followed by Christmas shopping in the snow. But we all, every last one of us, chose to hang out together in worship, because we like each other.



That's all.



Well, that, and we really, really like the God we have come to know in the face of Jesus Christ. And we genuinely like how Jesus expresses Himself through the different vessels.



It was a warm fuzzy moment, and I am all about the warm fuzzies. I want to feel it when my God wraps His arms around me, and speaks truth into my innermost being. I want to experience my sanctified feelings - that is part of practicing true religion.



I really do like these people I do church with. I really do love the God I serve. I really do love this family of mine - and we are not a trophy family, folks! We're a bunch of mad hatters.



Next time you are in church, I pray that you can look around you and see the faces of dear friends - people you would trust with your business or your family, if something happened to you.



I. Have. That.



That is to be startlingly blessed. I'm so humbled to realize that sometimes the pulsing, glowing, sparkling truth of the gifts I have been given goes right over my head. I have not always seen these things for the indescribable gifts they are.


A verse, from a passage we read this morning: "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
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