Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver, others gold. I look at that poem and realize the truth in that old Proverb. I’ve bent the words just a touch because whether my friends are new or old (er – friends I’ve known while I’ve grown old), their value is much higher than today’s going rate for silver – at $17.00/ounce, or the gold spot price of $1275.50/ounce. Every friend is a gift, the Gold Standard – a gift of compassion, a gift of encouragement, a gift of laughter, a gift of experiences, a gift of support, a gift of themselves. Take a minute and think of friends who have made your world better just by being in it.
When something heartwarming and unexpected happens, one of my friends, Bonnie Washburn calls that kisses from the King. I like that. The imagery of being wrapped in an embrace and kissed on the forehead by the God who created everything and still holds it all together. Colossians 1:17 “God’s Son was before all else, and by him, everything is held together.” Kisses from the king whose plans precede our own. Jeremiah 32:19 “With great wisdom you make plans, and with your great power you do all the mighty things you planned. Nothing we do is hidden from your eyes”.
I was folding an apron that I’d received from a friend 30 years ago. I still remember finding it packaged for me “To: Jane From: Your Secret Pal” this slate blue apron ruffled around the skirt with a quilted goose on the chest. I already know you’re wondering how a 30-year-old apron is still being laundered and put away after all this time. It’s as durable as my friendship with Joyce Shiels who gave it to me, and I feel wrapped in warmth when I wear it and it refreshes my soul. Proverbs 27:9 “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend refreshes the soul.”
Tucking that apron into the closet, I thought of Joyce and her husband Chuck. How often we’d spent time together and how I missed them since they moved, we moved, then they moved again and we did the same; all across counties and sometimes across state lines. Suddenly I wanted to see them and wondered how we could ever work that out. I closed the closet door and put that thought on the shelf with the apron. What I was thinking then was probably close to this verse in Psalm 94:11 “The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.”
I brightened at the thought that we were soon going to have dinner with friends we’ve known so long they’ve reached that old friend status. Jim and Suzan Middleton, and Ted Nelson – friends since 1971 – definitely GOLD standard for friends. 6:00 Arnies! Couldn’t wait to see them again …
Walking into the restaurant, I exchanged the gold standard hug with Jim, and Ted and then I saw them. It had to be a mirage, there is no way that the people at the far end of the lobby were Chuck and Joyce. How would they choose this restaurant on this night at this time? Kisses from the King! Didn’t God say in Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”? In Psalm 20:4 didn’t God impress this upon David? “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
It was such a small thing, but it was a GOLD standard friendship operation for me. We talked and reminisced and caught up on our lives as they have rolled through the past years since we last met. Hugs from the Almighty. Kisses from the King. Arriving home that night I realized what had happened in those few short hours. God knew I had an empty place that needed to be filled and he said “Yes, I care about even the small things, but Jane, you have to also trust me for the big things.” Do you even care what I said in Luke 12:28 “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”.
This could be a simple story about lasting friendships, but it’s more than that. It’s a story about trust; trusting God to fill the empty places, walk with us through the storm, take care of our needs, and even grant us our wants. We can trust him in the dark for what he promised us in the light. Kisses from the King. Love wins.
1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for knowing what I need even before I know it’s missing. Take my small, measly faith and make it audacious and strong. Replace my pathetic fearfulness with your courage, and give me a heart like yours, full of wisdom and discernment, and let me serve you out of love and compassion, not of pride. Bless this day with peace and your children with the spirit of thankfulness. I love you, Lord, please let my life reflect you today. Amen