The little girl set her tray of food on the cafeteria table and sat down to eat. She looked around the room at all of the strange faces. Others her age were sitting in groups, talking and laughing as if they had known each other forever.
She was comfortable with the kids in her kindergarten class the previous semester but now felt intimidated and worried that she would not make friends now that she was in first grade.
“Can I sit with you?” She looked up to see a dark haired girl with long curly hair standing next to her.
“Yes,” she said. The girls exchanged names while they ate and talked about their experiences on the first day of school.
This was not a major event. It was just two girls quietly talking in the middle of a crowded and noisy room. In fact, no one paid much attention to them. But this ordinary lunch was the start of a life-long friendship that has taken them on a journey through the emotions of being teenagers, the excitement of becoming young women and the trials of getting older. That lunch was over 35 years ago, and the girl that sat next to me that day is what I call my “soul friend.”
God created us to need each other. Friends hold us accountable and help us to mature and grow in our faith. Jesus knew the importance of having friends. He spent a lot of time nurturing and growing relationships with the disciples.
God not only wants us to have friends but he wants to be our friend. Jesus says in John 15:14 (NIV)
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
What does he command of us? The answer is found in John 15:12 (NIV)
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Today my friend, commit to loving others just as Jesus loves you and watch your friendship with Jesus blossom and your faith deepen.