Life At It's Best: Friendships are vital to fulfilling your purpose
By Jim Graff
Have you ever hung out with someone for a few minutes, but it felt like hours? Then you hung out with another person for hours, but it felt like only minutes had passed? I certainly have. But, I've found that this happens not because one person is better than the other, but because God has designed specific people for my life.
As His children, God has handpicked the relationships He wants us to have - those who will empower and encourage us to fulfill His purpose. He wants to connect us to those who will help us believe for better and will see in us what no one else sees. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed." God knows just who and what we need in our lives - and when we need them - in order to find and fulfill his perfect will.
My sister-in-law, Jennifer, is a perfect example of the incredible impact these God-ordained relationships can make. Jennifer is from a small town in Arkansas. She grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family, watching her mom endure several abusive relationships while struggling to make ends meet. At 15 years old, she recognized that her own safety was in jeopardy in that home and moved out.
Jennifer lived with a friend during the next several years. During that time, a friend of their family heard about her situation and offered to help. He gave Jennifer a job and taught her to manage her money. As her high school graduation approached, he helped her get scholarships and fill out college applications. Most importantly, He taught her about God and encouraged her to stay connected to a local church throughout the difficult time she was facing.
This man became the first real father figure Jennifer had ever known. He saw what no one else saw in her and encouraged her to pursue God's plan for her life. He put a vision in her heart about her future, and that future has been an incredible one.
After putting herself through college, Jennifer became a nurse. She got a job at a Baptist hospital, met a handsome surgeon (who just so happens to be Tamara's brother, Paul), got married and now has four beautiful children to whom she's an amazing mother. She also works alongside Paul, now a pastor, and they spend half of each year serving as medical missionaries overseas.
Seventeen years later, it's amazing to look back and see how one person made such a difference in the life of another. And guess what? It can happen for you, too. Just believe that the who, what and when of your life is in God's hands, then leave it there. You don't have to be a seasoned Christian to start obeying God; you just have to believe that no one else has a better plan for your life. Life is too short not to experience God's best in every area - including relationships. So, trust God, and watch what He can do.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.