DOES GOD CHOOSE OUR FRIENDS?
By Carolyn Dale Newell
Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NKJV
What would an elderly, devout woman have in common with a pregnant teenage girl? When the women are Mary and Elizabeth in the Christmas story, the common ground is miraculous conception.
When the angel, Gabriel delivered his message to Mary announcing she would give birth to Jesus, he gave her a gift. He told the soon-to-be virgin mother her cousin, Elizabeth was also pregnant.
Mary found it difficult to understand a virgin birth, so Gabriel informed her that the barren womb of Elizabeth was now fruitful.
Mary journeyed about seventy-five miles to spend the last trimester of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with her. God knew these ladies needed this time of fellowship.
Who would believe Mary’s story? Joseph almost broke off their relationship. Would her parents believe the story of a visit from an angel? Elizabeth would believe.
Together, they fueled one another’s faith.
Throughout her childless years, Elizabeth learned to deal with scorn. Not having children in that culture was as shameful as a pregnant unmarried teen. Elizabeth could prepare Mary for what she would face as she returned home and her pregnancy began to blossom. They encouraged one another.
Have you noticed how people come and go out of our lives? You begin to drift away from those you once felt close to. We may even feel rejected by them, or is it really the hand of God?
For many years, I wept inside as friends talked about their grown children and their plans. My daughter had cut off our relationship years ago. Then one day, she came back into my life, but it was never the relationship my friends had with their children.
Some of the best friends God has given me are Eva and Debbie. Neither of them have children. There are no reminders of what should have been. Actually, we have more in common than friends with families.
Remember when we were children, how we hated it when our parents tried to pick our friends. As adults, and parents, we now know our parents had only the best in mind for us.
It is the same with our heavenly Daddy. He chooses people we need and people who need us. People who encourage and edify each other, just like Mary and Elizabeth.
Think of those closest to you. Thank God for the gift of them. How can you be a better friend to them?
Now think of someone who has grown distant. Could it be that God moved them away?
God purposes the friends in our lives. His wonderful loving concern for us is thorough, right down to choosing our friends. Praise Him for that today!
Heavenly Father, thank You for the friends and family You have placed in our lives. Thank You for weaving people in and out of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Read Luke 1:34-45.