Lifetime Friends

friends“And friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them.  And a friend will not say never if the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.”

Ahh yes, the hit song by Michael W. Smith called “Friends.” I woke up the other day with that song stuck in my head for some odd reason. I haven’t heard it in years. But it did bring back memories when I was a camper and counselor at Kanakuk Kamps, one of the country’s premiere Christian sports camp. The last day of camp they would show a picture slideshow of the entire term with music being played in the background and the final song being “Friends.” During the term, you would participate in a wide variety of activities from basketball and baseball to rock climbing and white water rafting, learn about God, and at the same time get to know and bond with kids your age and counselors from around the country and world, creating great friendships. I spent six years as a camper and four years as a counselor and had some of my greatest memories during these years. Regretfully, I lost touch with all my camp friends except one who I still talk to and even see today. Those were friends for a season of my life.

Everyone needs friends. Friends are how you are defined as a person. Friends are there for you when times are tough and during the joyful times. They are there for you when you need someone to talk to and even know some of your deepest secrets. Friends show patience with you and are kind, trusting, and caring. They always speak the truth and will never let you down. And most importantly they show love, no matter the circumstances. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.” I’ve lost friendships with some great people in the past few years. I would give anything to have them in my life again, but I know they have to forgive me first, they have to be willing to give me another chance, they have to accept me, warts and all. I pray God moves in their lives because I really need you to do that.  You know who you are…..please forgive me for hurting  you and disappointing you.

I’ve also had the privilege of being blessed with three of my best friends that go all the way back to my pre-school days – Mark and Kurt, and in third grade Joel became our friend. I’ve known them for 30 years and 26 years, respectively. To this day I still talk and even hang out with them when I’m around. The memories that have been created and etched in my mind are ones I’ll never forget – from sleepovers to basketball games to cabin trips to the Black River to their weddings to the birth of their children. There are few things that I do not know about them and they about me. We’ve been thought it all together. Most of all I am thankful that they are even here for me while I’m in prison. They have never abandoned me when I needed them the most. Of course, they were disappointed in my choices, but they are forgiving and will still be there for me when I get out. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The four of us have definitely sharpened one another, molded, and transformed each other into who we are today. They are friends for a lifetime.

Oh, yes… may have hundreds even a thousand “friends” on Facebook. But how many of you have friends that go back to childhood? Or how many of you have friends that you can tell anything to, that you trust and care deeply about? How many of you have lost friends due to lack of communication or busy schedules? With technology today it’s not too late to rekindle some of those friendships. Friends are important. Even Jesus had great friends. And He wants you to develop and keep long lasting friendships. The last line of the song, “Friends” says it best: “That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.” Life is too short. Don’t miss those opportunities to hang and talk with your friends. Cherish those moments and create lasting memories. We need those relationships in our lives. Let your friends know how important they are to you. I’m thankful that God has blessed me with such great friends……friends of all ages and stages of life who care about me and support me, especially where I am today.  You know who you are! Thank YOU for being in my life and being my friend.



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