Back in my summer camp counselor days, a favorite song at camp was “Friends Are Friends Forever” as sung by Michael W. Smith. The key line to that song is what follows the title…”Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.” In Jesus, friendships can, indeed, last forever. What a JOYOUS message that is!
I experienced a taste of the enduring power Jesus gives to friendships on my family’s recent vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC. We had a great time just hanging out, playing games, walking on the beech…and taking long quiet moments to pray and listen to the Lord. A highlight for all of us was our time in worship at Island Lutheran Church on New Year’s Day. As we entered into a new year, it was a true joy to meet up with a dear friend and brother pastor, Rev. Larry Eckart, who is now pastor of Island Lutheran Church. It had been seven years since we’d seen each other, but it felt like no time had passed at all. Our friendship picked right up where it had left off. We shared our joy in what the Lord has been doing in our lives. We rejoiced that the new year and every year is clearly in the hands of a gracious and loving God.
Larry and I may not see each other again on this side of heaven. There’s a bit of sadness in that. But, the joy in our shared faith in Jesus is far greater than any sorrow. We KNOW we will spend eternity together. With our “thumb up” to Jesus, we are sure He will take us to be together with Him in paradise for eternity. How awesome it is to remember that “friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.”