It's not everyday The Preacher and I sit down to a meal with another couple who, like us, have founded a school that they now head. Like us, they are Classical, Christian, and University Model. Our new friends sought to know us better over a fire-roasted artichoke at The Cheesecake Factory. The Preacher and I found ourselves recounting the past year or so of our lives. As we shared, a theme emerged: one of sickness, relational wounds, the loss of close friends and family as they moved away, and deep concern and counsel within ministry. Our birdseye view revealed what a difficult year we've had-- each month highlighted with joys--yes--but distinctly marked by the testing of our faith and a burdened heart. Of the many lessons learned about gratitude, contentment, forgiveness, and faith this last year, the greatest has been the over-arching picture of delighting in Christ alone:
Not to serve him mechanically or routinely, but to worship and adore him gratefully.
Not to view him as distant and aloof, but to recognize the nearness of him whose carries our greatest burdens.
Not to withdraw from our Maker when we are afraid, but to run to him in desperation.
Not to consider ourselves merely subjects; but rather, intimate friends of the King.
To have friendship with God is to enjoy Him, to be intimate with Him, to be invited into the Oneness of the Trinity. What a marvel it is that God allows us to mirror that love and friendship within the body of Christ. That we can know true friendship with others. Our Latin students learned to recite this this past year:
From Cicero's De Amicitia:
Pauci viri veros amicos habent, et pauci sunt digni. Amicitia vera est praeclara, et omnia praeclara sunt rara. Multi viri stulti de pecunia semper cogitant, pauci de amicis; sed errant: possumus valere sine multa pecunia, sed sine amicitia non valemus et vita est nihil.
Few men have true friends, and few are worthy. True friendship is splendid, and all things precious are rare. Many foolish men always think about money, few about friends; but they err: We can be well without much money, but without friendship we are not well and life is nothing.
There's no greater time than times of trials to bring to light the value of true friendships, and the true nature of the friendships you value. Indeed, few have true friends, and true friends are few and far between.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. -Proverbs 18:24
Take heart, friend...If today finds you aching in body or in heart, our Father is near; He is a true friend. You have need of no one but Him; yet, our God is good, who gives us more than what we need, but what we desire. He provides true friendships. You have need of only a few...invest wisely.
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