A small pier extended out over a getty that extended into the ocean water surrounding a little small island called Managaha. It was the summer of 1999. Just a few months earlier, I had found what it meant to have a relationship with God before graduating from Bob Jones University. Providence had carried me far away from my homeland, I was now living in Saipan working in a small school called Eucon International School. It was the weekend, and with the weekend came the opportunity to do things like explore the tropical island we were privileged to be living on and camp out on this little neighboring smaller island called Managaha. Together with some of the teachers that summer, I had gone camping. I remember it very well. It would be one of many times we had the privilege to have such an outing while I stayed in Saipan over the next four years. This particular night, I had not been on island so long and was a bit homesick for my family and friends back home in the states. I walked to the pier where the little boat had dropped us off earlier with all our camping stuff, and for a time sat down together with another co-teacher and watched the stars, and listened to the ocean water. I remember thinking that night and it was really the first time I recall realizing it or thinking of it – I thought of how precious Jesus and the Father, the Spirit are and all the redeemed souls of His and how really it was these that made the thought of heaven so longed for. Growing up, I can remember being told stories about heaven – the streets of gold, the mansion He is preparing. I remember dreaming what it might be like. But until that night when I was so separated from the ones I was so close to, I didn’t realize how the souls in heaven – the souls, that would be what would make heaven so precious to me.
Time has ellapsed, now it is 2014. Since that time of living in Saipan and those first days in Christ, I have gotten married. I have had three children. We have bought our first house. I’ve homeschooled for six years. Time has marched on…. My life is not as simple as it was as a single girl living on Saipan in the South Pacific Ocean.
My life’s changed not just by means of marriage and children, I have also lost loved ones. Sitting on the dock in Saipan in 1999, I had only lost an aunt , a cousin, and a great grandmother. Now, there awaits me my sweet Grandmother and Grandfather, and my husband’s father. Heaven’s getting sweeter and dearer with every passing day.
Friendships are not as easily maintained with three small children, nor are family relationship, frankly, especially as a homeschool mother.
A few weeks ago, much out of no where, a friend of mine from my college days came by to visit with me and we met together at a park. She has three boys, and I have two boys and a little girl. We shared how God had used some circumstances of suffering to really teach us and draw us to Himself.
For a brief moment, it was like time stood still and that same heart of mine that was just so zealous and vibrant as a college girl revived for a little bit of an afternoon. The old friend blessed my heart so much just by her fellowship. As I left the park, I was singing an old negro spiritual song called “Oh! Happy Day!” The last year has been tremendously difficult for me, and in an afternoon this old friendship and the fellowship brought together through it with the Best Friend to my heart was so refreshing. As I drove home, I realized and I thought of how our friends in Christ, our closest brothers and sisters in the LORD are like little springs of HOPE that GOD allows to flow into our lives. They whisper to our hearts of a better time and a better day coming.
God has blessed my life with so many sweet, sweet friends. Jesus said “I have called you Friends, because whatsoever the Father has told unto me, I have shared it with you…” Have you found the very closest best Friend? He is the source of all our love and all our affection.
Christ is the reason that we can befriend another. Christ is the reason why we should love and care for others. My life has gone and progressed since 1999, and the body of Christ has not always been without offense. My heart has been broken and wounded, and without doubt I have hurt and offended other people. Christ’s love and His very life are the healing bond and within Him lies a reservoir of Hope that one can turn to with these broken wounded hearts.
Here, every gathering eventually must come to a close. But there, there is coming a day where we will bask in His presence and we will fellowship perfectly. What joys await us there!
So, Friendship. Friendship is a ray of HOPE for me. God put within all of us a longing that this world cannot satisfy. “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” – Augustine.