The other day, I happened to come across the following quote:
In friendship, we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting – any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another.” The friendship is not a reward of our discriminating & good taste in finding one another out, it is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.
Woah! What a new perspective on friendship!
I’ve always been thankful for the group of people I consider my best friends, but recently, God has been pounding into me how blessed I am… & I believe that you are blessed too. Whoever you are, wherever you’ve been, I believe God has blessed you with brothers & sisters in Christ who, with time & fellowship, will have your back. However, sometimes we overlook the very people who God graciously gives us.
As I started my first semester, I expected to find a group of people just like my best friends – hilarious & passionate about Jesus. However… this wasn’t the case. I couldn’t find who I thought I was looking for. I was frustrated because the girls I met didn’t understand my sense of humor & seemed to care only about attention from guys. The guys I met didn’t desire to lead others to Christ or watch their words & jokes around me.
Do you see how judgmental I was? How wrong my mindset was? I do. I regret comparing each new face to familiar faces back home.
God humbled my heart & I am blessed to tell you that I have met amazing new friends at college, some Christian & some not. Perhaps the most beautiful part of my new friendships lies in the fact that they are not mirror images of my hometown friends. I wouldn’t want it that way, not anymore. I already know those personalities; how blessed am I that God would allow me to discover new personalities that He created & passionately loves? I love it!
While a lot of this seems like an old lesson to me, that C.S. Lewis quote found me a few days ago & reminded me of how God has grown me. There are truly no chances for the Christian. God is in all things and works in all things to create the perfect atmosphere for friendships to begin. Our own discrimination & preferences do not control who we end up working through life with, God decides that.
As I prepare to return to campus for a new semester, my prayer is that my heart would be open to the people placed around me. My prayer for you is similar; I pray that you would see your peers as The Father sees them. Maybe you’re not as judgmental as I was (& often, still am…), but maybe you are. Like me, maybe you don’t want to pursue relationships with certain people because they aren’t like your old friends, they don’t seem good enough for you, or they aren’t who you pictured. I pray that we would not overlook the people around us. I pray that we would not let our own preconceived notions keep us from knowing our brothers & sisters in Christ or sharing the unconditional loving acceptance of our Lord Jesus Christ with the lost.
P.S. I would love prayer for deeper relationships with my college friends & I’ll pray for you too as we pursue greater & wider fellowship within the body of Christ.