You've got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Boy you've got a friend in me - You've Got a Friend in Me, Randy Newman
This song by Randy Newman has got to be one of my favorite songs. Ever. Call me a sap, but it is just fantastic and the movie that it is forever attached to (Toy Story) is not bad at all either.
It is so interesting to me this whole virtue on Friendship that we have been focusing on this month. My wife and I are very interested in the friends our boys have at school and in the various other settings they find themselves in. We are probably being a little annoying by asking questions (over and over and over...) like "Who did you sit with in lunch?" or "How did you end up in the project group with those people in History class?" or "How was recess? Who did you play with? What did you do?" and I think that we ask more questions about the social aspects of our boys' school lives than their academics. I think that we are in this mode more often than not because we have come to the conclusion that relationships are the most powerful force in the universe. I don't think that this is an overstatement.
I remember an exercise a while back where a pastor asked the church about their salvation history. He asked whether they were introduced to Christ by someone that they had a previous relationship with or by some other means (like radio, television, the internet, etc.). Out of everyone that was there, and that had a relationship with God through Christ, I remember 3 or 4 people raising their hand identifying themselves as someone who placed their faith in Christ through some other means other than a friendship. That literally blew my mind. I guess I intuitively knew that, but to see it illustrated was something I will never forget.
But as I thought more about it I saw something even more striking. I got to thinking about how God acted towards me in bringing me to Himself. He didn't do it through bribery or fear. He wasn't there holding out the promise of a charmed life or good abdominal muscles. He wasn't selling any of that at all. He simply wanted to be my friend and did everything in His power to make that happen. He removed the stain of my sin that kept me far from Him and pursued me unlike anyone else ever had or has. He, quite simply, loved me and that captured my attention and, most importantly, my heart. How could I say anything but "yes" to the One who wanted a relationship with me as badly as He did...and still does?
Is it any wonder that Satan wants nothing more for my boys than to discourage good friendships and exalt the bad ones? He knows as well as we do that their friends can drive them far from God or pull them closer to Him and wants to make sure that he has sway in that regard. That is why we pray, converse, and encourage our boys about the friends they keep. We see, every day, how they are being moulded by their friends and want the shape that they attain to be that of Christ himself. Because, quite frankly, that is what their best Friend wants for them.