Thank God for friends. I have been blessed through the years with very many friends. God has placed men in my life from around this nation and beyond that encourage me on a regular basis. I thank God nearly everyday for these God given friends.
Nearly Ten years ago while we were living in Kansas I sent "thank you" cards to many of my "Heroes" in the faith. Great men who took time to befriend me and their friendships proved to be invaluable.
Over a period of several days I sat down and wrote or typed my heartfelt thanks to the many men who had a great spiritual influence on my life. I go back and read the copies of those cards occasionally and I always weep from a thankful heart.
In the ensuing years there have been a whole new crop of men spring up and take on the role of friend in my life. They have joined the others as my encouragers, role models, teachers, mentors, confidants and defenders. I thank God for these friends.
I suppose it's time to sit down and write a whole new stack of "thank you" notes to these additional friends and spiritual heroes that God has placed in my life.
However, I have been thinking about a totally different class of friends in the last few days leading up to Thanksgiving. I don't really know what to call these friends.
"Friends I haven't seen in a very long time and that I hardly ever talk to any more but I still think about and thank God for on a consistent basis because I could Not have faced certain parts of life without them."
You know what I'm talking about? If you are young, perhaps you don't. It is like this: They are like friends I had in high school that I believed were life long friends. I would never be separated from them... No way!
But I haven't seen some of those high school friends since graduation day over 25 years ago. If I have seen them it was briefly at a funeral or wedding or the WHS Alumni banquet I attended in May that was about as exciting as a wedding and as sad as a funeral in a weird twisted kinda way. I digress.
What happened to those high school friends? We didn't get mad. We didn't argue. We didn't choose new friends or dump old friends. Life just moved on and we moved with it. It is the way life works.
But the friends I have been thinking of were more important to me And my family than high school friends. We shared much more!
We shared spiritual experiences, Campmeetings, revivals, baptisms, dedications, Sunday school, Wednesday night prayer meetings, weeping altar services, singing, shouting, healings and the list goes on and on.
We shared meals... Lots of meals!
We have had long conversations about doctrine, preaching, music, temptations, food, feelings, fears, faith, families and numerous other subjects.
In other words we connected deeply and stayed connected for years. These friends were as crucial to me then as my dearest friends are now.
But life moved on. Time, distance, several cross country moves, jobs, college, kids and the general busyness of life has interfered with some of our friendships. Of course the fact that my calling keeps us on the road most of the year and we relocate to a different city every week hasn't helped the cause any. Lol
I have been thinking of friends that fall into this category. These are the friends I have been wondering about this week. These are the friends I have been thanking God for this week.
I have been thanking God for them and asking God to bless them for the close times we have experienced. I am a better man for knowing them and for the investments they made in my life. I am a better Christian for the prayers they have prayed and the seeds they have sown in my life.
So I give praise and glory to God on Thanksgiving Day for Friends I haven't seen in a very long time and that I hardly ever talk to any more but I still think about and thank God for on a consistent basis because I could not have faced certain parts of life without them.
If you happen to be one of the folks I am thanking God for today, please know that I love you, we love you and we pray for you and will always cherish the part you played in our lives.
Oh, and call me any time!