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There is something truly special about the love of a friend—something to treasure and be thankful for! The bond that develops is hard to break, especially when tested by time and circumstances in all of life’s ups and downs. And we've all seen a lot of changes and trying times this past year.

A friend shows empathy and genuine concern for another’s well being. A friend understands the other’s need of a quiet respite for a time when life comes hard against them. A friend reaches out in those difficult times to say, “I’m here, whenever you need me. I won’t interfere, just know that I’m here for you. I love you, and support you with my thoughts and my prayers.” 

A friend once told me when we were both going through extensive health issues, “Now you’ll learn who your true friends are,” and she was so right.

A friend shares your joy, while you share a gladness of heart when they are blessed, even during times of your own hardship. Encouragement flows from one heart to another and back again for the endeavors you each pursue. . . strengthening the bond between both—sharing peace, joy, and contentment. 

A friend speaks truth to settle disputes. A friend does not begrudge another their needs. A friend does not mock, lie, retaliate, or deceive for personal gain.  A friend is willing to apologize, recognizing their own failings. A friend forgives, yet discerns with God’s wisdom when the relationship is abusive. And in forgiving, with or without apologies from the other, establishes boundaries of responsibility and accountability with honesty (for there are times when a relationship is detrimental and one must walk away, even when no one else understands, allowing God to work His healing). He will give you strength and courage, for trust and respect are earned and maintained within a healthy and stable relationship, bringing honor to God.

A friend listens with a servant’s heart—not for what they can get or take, but for what they can offer from their heart—whether with contemplative quiet or words of wisdom (without expecting anything in return).

Which all reminds me of a good marriage when you each give 100%. Needless to say, we all have times when we give less to our spouse, or to a friend.  But we don’t stay there. We discuss and overcome what has upset us, knocked us down, and we apologize, forgive, and move forward with 100% once again. With accountability, and that kind of trust and giving, we exhibit God’s love as He intended.

And dear are the friends who, when getting together even infrequently, love each other enough to pick right back up where they left off as if there had been no time or distance between their meetings. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”

Such a friend is a blessing from God: someone who understands your heart, who complements what you already have or perhaps are lacking, who is able to wisely point out where you may be in the wrong, who can share in your joy, who can simply and quietly be there when your heart is breaking, who can give loving support to help accomplish a task when your skills might be limited, who will gladly come alongside with no expectation of repayment or recognition in any manner for a good deed. . . being someone who simply loves the other just for who they are.

And so, we give a heartfelt “Thank you” to each of our dear friends who have stood by us and supported us through the numerous life challenges we have faced over the years. Such a friend… our spouse… can be so like our Lord. The One who blesses our heart with abundant love…who comes alongside, gently calling us away from life’s harms, who loves at all times, and who lays down His life to cover our sins… as we seek Him for all of our needs. A friend like no other. 

A Friend
Linda A. Roorda

A friend reaches out to touch your soul
As you share a love and a bond that twines
From the time you meet you’re drawn in close
You want to know more about this new friend.

A friend is one who will ever be near
Ready with kind words and a caring heart
A friend will share the depths of your soul
Midst tears that flow and the days of joy.

A friend is waiting with arms held out
To listen with care and understanding
To hold you tight when life overwhelms
To never let go no matter the trial.

A friend gently holds your heart with joy
Like a rose in bloom with beauty fragile,
Yet strongly stands to face stormy days
That test the strength of ties that bind.

A friend is there to listen at length
When anger erupts like a storm at sea
And days arrive with hurts that steal joy
To clear the heart of issues that strain.

A friend will wait no matter how long
To regain the lapse when life interrupts
As you pick back up where you both left off
Not missing a beat with hearts in tune.

A friend’s precious words lift up your heart
To heal the wounds and cover the scars
With guiding wisdom extended in love
To cheer the soul and renew the joy.

A friend brings peace for a troubled soul
To share quiet time and ease tensions tight
To calm the fears and carry the loss
And help you walk a difficult path.

A friend shares the joy that floods your soul
The blessings of life in showers rich
Those unannounced and those from long hope
As you give sweet praise for heaven’s ways.

A friend will give their life as a gift
To sacrifice self for the gain of all
A friend clings to hope that the best in you
Will still shine bright when all else seems lost.

A friend there is no greater than this
Than the Lord above with His love divine
He holds out his hands, draws us to His side
And blesses our hearts with joy from a friend.

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