Story time: Friendship

I toured a lot with a band from Atlanta, Georgia called Family Force 5. When we had some breaks in between tours, I'd stay in Atlanta with them. It got to a point where I had my own room and bed in the band house for when I was there, even though I lived in Syracuse, New York. So eventually, since I kind of lived in Atlanta on and off, I decided to find a church. Through asking other Atlanta friends, in this case a friend who is a former Atlantan, I found a church. When I visited Atlanta, I'd go to this church and when I was touring, I would listen to the podcasts. Anyway, while I was meeting people after services I met this one guy, with just a handshake. Nothing memorable at all. Just a friendly "after-church" handshake and a name trade.

 

Two years go by and through a lot of random events, I end up leaving the house I grew up in, the very house I was carried into as a baby, the town I made my closest friends and I moved to Atlanta, Georgia.

 

The first 6 months were horrible for me, I missed my friends back home and seemed to lack connection with my new friends, sure we might laugh and have a good time for a night, but when I got to my bed every night I didn't feel like I made any connections. I know that storms happen in everyone's life and from the past storms, I've learned it's really good to have close friends to walk through that storm with you. So while I was meeting people, it was just that, meeting people. If a storm came, it was going to be bad and I knew it.

 

So when I first went to that church after the move I saw a familiar face across the room. For some reason, I remembered his name. Weird. It was the guy I shook hands with two years ago. How do I walk up to him and say "hey, ______ how have you been since we met briefly for 4 seconds, two years ago?". Anyway, we did get to talking and it didn't take long for me to realize he was socially awkward and didn't have many friends. His personality was abrasive at best. So our friendship stayed at church.

 

While I was praying for real solid friends, I really felt like God was saying, "if you want friends, be a friend". Which is pretty obvious, right? Be a friend to the friendless. Perfect, I'll talk to ______. So we start hanging out, going hiking, canoeing and going out to eat every once and a while. Eventually, I started inviting others along so he can make new friends and through this I was making other friends, realizing who the solid guys were that loved _____, even in his awkwardness. We'd take him bowling and stuff and through that I found friends that I could trust, because they treated ______ so well, I knew they'd be a good friend to me also.

 

One day, while hanging out, _______ pulled me aside and said, "I've been getting really lonely and praying God would give me friends and a few months ago, I've been noticing that people have been recently caring for me and being so friendly". I realized how big of a tool friendship is.

 

Then I started learning that "whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto Jesus" in a more real way. But one night, it was amazing for me. It really hit me in a real way that whatever I do unto ______, I'm doing for Christ. One night _____ and I went out to eat. And we started joking around, of course and I told a story that just made him chuckle real good. So I continued the story, watching him laugh and I can honestly say that when I saw laughter in those eyes that normally are so lonely, I saw light coming out of his smile that I've never seen before. The first time in my joking I felt like I was making God himself laugh. So every little moment, every extra punch-line, every sound effect or stupid facial expression that I could muster up to make him laugh, I mustered. In that moment I didn't care about what the other people in the restaurant would think of me, I didn't care how stupid my sound effects and facial expressions were, I was addicted. Because even though I was very aware that _______ wasn't God, I knew that our interaction was making God laugh. And I liked it.

 

When we do good unto others, even the least of these, we most certainly do it unto God. Though we don't feel like we are doing it unto God most of the time, sometimes, God allows us to see how our actions affect Him. When that happens, you forget about yourself, the people around you and you do whatever it takes to keep God smiling.

 

I think the missing ingredient to serving God and others is the thought of God's reaction to our love for each other.

 

When I dance in worship to God, I like to picture God laughing and being fully entertained at the edge of His throne, saying "oh man, I love this part". And when I do that, I dance even more like a fool.

 

your friend,

 

-Isaac