Discipleship

Vital Proximity of Friends

Yesterday, to the consternation of a dear friend, I witnessed a poignant illustration of the need for other voices in our lives. Voices that call us to something better than what we are focused on, and stand with us through life.

A group of us were preparing to go our separate ways on a local patio when a Japanese beetle flew into the midst of our group. For those of you not in Southern California, this beetle can be quite large and sounds like a jet when it is buzzing around you in all it’s green/black shining brilliance. Most of us backed away from the buzzing but the beetle acquired a target and made its attempts for the inside of my friend’s shirt.

She freaked. Dancing about, swinging her arms, shaking he hair out. Screams of terror!

What she didn’t see though as she was flailing, but what all of her friends saw, was that the beetle flew away nearly as fast as it approached. We all raised our voices “it’s gone!” “Don’t worry!”

Our friend responded that the beetle was down her shirt, but we assured her that it flew away. Calm returned. We went our own ways.

This is life isn’t it? We face what seems to be the attack of some crazy objects and begin to flail around, terrorized by our circumstance. If left along we might eventually figure out that the danger has passed or more likely, we will succumb to far more terror than need be.

If we have friends with proximity to our lives, the ability to be near and see us emotionally, physically etc, then we will be brought out of the trouble sooner, like my friend and her experience with the beetle.

It is vital, especially for the Christian, that we have community, friends with access to our lives, the freedom of proximity, to speak into our transformation, our path forward. They can spur us on, see that the trouble has gone, and be anchors steadying us in the storms of life.

Friends are not our Savior, but he uses them for our good and his glory in our lives. While the pandemic adds new layers of difficulty in allowing proximity, we can live up to the challenge and engage with each other in creative ways to keep proximity (dinner at a really long table, walks on the beach, conversations in the driveway.)

So as the best you can, don’t be left to be freaked out by the beetles of life, let some friends close and mutually help one another. A great place to start is engaging the people in your local church. Go for it.

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