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I promised myself to not dwell on past issues regarding the past year, and yet, here I am penning my final entry before the dawn of 2015.

In ways, I find it therapeutic to quickly glance over the shoulder, and take some time to observe with thanksgiving in my heart. And, as a result, I will be looking back on one final thing, as I long to move forward with my heart and mind.

One of the major highlights for me has got to be friendships. I feel joyous in my Spirit knowing that I have had the privilege to grow in my current circle of friendships (those close to home and even long distant). I am thankful to have extended new friendships with other brother and sisters in Christ as newfound friends.

I have also adopted another set of parents, which I seem to do every now and again. Not sure why either. I guess I like the idea of being adopted into God’s family, especially when one grows up living an only child. There’s something wonderful in connecting with others, especially in Spirit in the wider body of Christ.

I am thankful for my close-knit circle of friends, especially for seeing me for who I am – someone who is imperfect, a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness and outpouring love and grace.

I am still learning with regards to friends and friendships as a whole. I am learning to share more time, and to give to others in whatever way that seems appropriate in a given situation. Crucially, I am also learning to receive rebuke from friends, which I see as a healthy way to grow in discernment and be drawn closer to God with regards to how I should pursue certain things in life.

I have learned to share in the joyful moments and even in the challenging seasons with friends, especially those I am unable to see in-person, and it breaks my heart to see them go through much hurt, but we share the same underlying faith in Christ, knowing that everyday brings fresh hope, as we all journey and take one day at a time.

I am strangely discovering that true friends don’t need to communicate with social networking sites, aside from making the odd comment on a funny joke or in shared family photos. There is something human when you engage with another human being with composed words in an e-mail or handwritten letter, or in the vulnerable surroundings of seeing each other in-person.

I just thank the LORD for either leading (and/or providing) me with the opportunity and privilege to befriend others, and to cross paths in whatever journey we are currently facing in our personal lives.

Remembering Older Friends

I have also lost two older brothers in Christ (both of whom are called Jim) and an older sister in Christ (named Margaret), who sadly passed away during the summer months within weeks of each other. It was also an odd experience to attend 3 consecutive funeral services. It also felt odd visiting the two Jim’s at their bedside in hospital, knowing that God was calling them both home.

I will never forget the day, when I visited Jim McC at his bedside, and after sharing words of encouragement and spending some time in prayer, there came that heartbreaking time when I had to return home.

Jim McC clutched my hand in a very firm way that a weak person could grasp in his last days. I don’t know why, but the last words that came to my mouth was quite simply “I’ll see you soon.” I didn’t give a time or date to when I longed to visit again. In a way, I know I’ll be seeing Jim McC soon, as I know he is with the LORD and at peace.

I also remember seeing Jim McD (the other Jim) in his last days. The time I visited, it was seemingly his better day, before his health rapidly declined thereafter. I will never forget Jim McD’s zeal for the LORD. He was passionate for God’s Word, and I had the awesome privilege to join his bible study group at his flat on several occasions.

Both Jim McD and Jim McC stood in differing theological views. One was a Calvinist. One was an Arminian. Both offered godly wisdom. Both shared a love for the Scriptures, and both were devoted in their bible study groups. It encouraged me that even to the ends of your days, the only sustaining thing that will keep us going, until we finish this earthly race is the ever-growing desire to grow deeper in God’s Word. Everything else in life is temporary, but God’s Word is eternal.

~Richard