“Is it normal to have fewer friends when you walk with the Lord?” My daughter wanted my thoughts on a question she’d heard. The question reminded me of different people I’ve counseled and of a few Scriptures. If your circle of friends seems to have shrunk after growing closer to the Lord, let me encourage you.
You’re in good company
The Scripture offers many examples of people whose circle of friends was reduced after the Lord called them.
- Abraham left his friends and family.
- Joseph was isolated from his family.
- Moses spent 40 years in the desert away from the Hebrews and Egyptians he’d known.
- Some believe Paul spent three years alone learning from God after he came to faith in Jesus.
For good reason
- They had to learn Christ’s voice: These people were chosen by God to play important roles in His story and display His glory in special ways. It was imperative that they become so familiar with their Shepherd’s voice that they would recognize it when they were surrounded by many voices.
- They had to learn Christ was enough. They had to face their own weaknesses in a way that only solitude and silence allows. The lures of this world had to lose their power over them. God was drawing these people into a deeper, more personal relationship with Himself. What better way to learn to trust Him than to have only Him to rely upon?
Your circle may grow again
At the right time, after a period of refining, God enlarged their circles again. The quality of their relationships, no doubt, improved because these people now related from a place of grounding.
Proverbs offers these bits of wisdom:
- “Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find” (Proverbs 20:6 NIV)?
- “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:25 ESV).
Periods of loneliness help us recognize and value the rare gift of a truly faithful friend. We also learn that Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother and who will never leave us. This period of pruning shapes us into faithful friends of God and a select few.
Where have all your friends gone? If it seems they have disappeared for a while, embrace this time as an opportunity to cultivate your relationship with Christ and to mature as a person. Abraham was called the friend of God. Christ calls us His friends. Learn how to be a better friend to Him, and you’ll recognize and appreciate your true friends.
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Debbie W. Wilson
Linked to #livefree Thursday
Photo found: http://alone-alone-alone.blogspot.com/