Saturday, May 19, 2012

The True Nature of Friendship

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  –Proverbs  17:17

I recall a number of years ago when the Internet was getting popular and everyone was starting to send and receive emails.  All of a sudden we were connecting and reconnecting with friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances.  These days, however, plain old email does seem a little boring, right?  I mean, we now have Facebook, blogging, texting, Skype (Internet on-screen phone calling), and Google messenger to name a few.  However, I cannot help but smile when I reflect on the time when email was so new and exciting.

During this early experience with the Internet, I was able to reconnect with a family who had been members of a church in another state where I had been the pastor.  Once I received my former church member’s email address I excitedly sat down and sent him a detailed message bringing him up to date on all that was going on with my family and ministry.  I told him about my family, what our sons all were doing, what was going on in Andrea’s life, and how the Lord was blessing our ministry.  I even told him about the puppy we had adopted.  A few days later, there was a message in my email inbox from my friend.  I eagerly opened it and read the following: “Dan: My old friend.  -Doug”

That was it.  Somehow I thought Doug might have taken the time to provide a little more detail as to what was going on in his life, yet he seemed content to simply acknowledge me as an old friend.  I have to admit I felt a little slighted.  I thought, “Come on, Doug; you can do better than that!  This is 1998 – we are on the Internet here!  Give me a few details.”  However, as I read the message I thought of what a sincere man my old friend is and how when it comes to electronic communication he is indeed a man of few words.  I contented myself with the knowledge that Doug considered me an old friend. 

The Word of God says that a friend loves us at all times.  Even though my friend did not have a great amount to share in his brief email, what he did say spoke volumes.  He thought of me as a friend.  I honestly have no doubt that even these years later were I to call him with a favor he would do anything in his power to help.  He is that kind of faithful friend.  Have you considered that a true friend does not have to say it, but expresses friendship through actions, trust, and deeds?  This is the test of true friendship; the test is not in words, but in the way they are always there for us when we need them. 

I am sad to say that in recent years I have lost touch with my friend Doug.  I am thinking of tracking down his email address and saying hello and bringing him up to date on all that has been going on in my life these recent years.  On the other hand, I might just make it much more succinct and say something like this:

My old friend.

I am sure that would do just fine.