A True Friend

Friends are important, are they not?

There are different types of friends. Some friends we see at the game or at work. Other friends we hang out with. Then there are close friends.

When I was in seminary, we were required to take a class called “Personal & Spiritual Formation” each of the first four semesters. It was sort of like a small group, but in some ways very different.

It was like a small group in that it was ~10 people sharing about what God was doing in their lives. It was very different in that no one could talk to anyone else. The facilitator would read a passage and pose a question, and each person could share in response, but while that person was speaking, no one could respond, comment, or offer feedback in any way, and no one could address any other person’s comment while it was their turn. There was no direct interaction allowed. The only exception was that the facilitator would recap to the person what they shared and then ask a leading question to prompt the sharer to dig deeper into the subject. Small-Group-Bible-Study_800

At first I hated PSF class. Relationships & sharing were not my strong suit in the first place, and I was frustrated at not being allowed to share my solutions to others’ problems. I thought it was a waste of time if we weren’t fixing anything.

But by the end of those two years, I came to look forward to PSF. Not just because our facilitator let us “Time out” occasionally and chatter away. But because I finally caught on to the value of it.

The point of sharing in a safe environment like that was to allow each person to talk through their issues with God. Having other people there made it easy to talk out loud without feeling silly, and the restrictions helped in that they released the listeners from the burden of fixing the issue. The rules also helped the one speaking hear from God directly without interference from well-meaning friends who likely had no clue what God really wanted to do in that situation.

Sometimes God uses friends to help us with an immediate situation, but if we always talk to our friends first, we miss the blessing of working things through with God, which grows faith as we trust Him for the next step.

I don’t want friends who are always ready to fire a quick solution to a difficult problem. I want friends who will listen and help me discern what God is doing.

No human friend can ever be there for you all the time. And God will bring or allow situations where others are not available to give you the opportunity to trust Him alone. He is more than capable. God has all the resources in the universe at His command, He already has a solution set, and He wants to help.

Jesus does not want to simply help us find answers, He wants to BE our answer. In good times and bad, every day, every moment, He wants to be your bff.

There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Prov 18:24

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5 Responses to A True Friend

  1. tinamhunt says:

    Sounds like a really valuable experience. I treasure my discerning friends, even when I don’t like what they’re saying. 🙂

  2. Jamie says:

    Thank you for sharing these lessons learned. So valuable.

  3. Fascinating! I always thought the purpose of a small group was the interaction and speaking into each other’s lives, forgetting that it’s more important to listen.

    By the way, I love your book blog background (and apparently alliteration as well). I may steal that idea.

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