I made a new friend recently.
Not the kind you meet at the park, play with, go your separate ways, and rarely see again.
No, it was the kind of friend that C.S. Lewis identified when he said, “Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
This week, I made a “you, too” friend. I got together with someone I had encountered weekly but never actually spent meaningful time with. I had been tiptoeing around the idea of inviting her over for awhile, unsure if she would even want to come.
It was something unexpected but hoped for all the same. And I’m grateful for the way God used it to show me His goodness and faithfulness.
Because, you see, I tend to make up ideas of how situations will turn out either to prepare myself or to talk myself out of venturing out of my comfortable space.
And then for some reason, when she gladly accepted my invitation to come over, I decided in my head that this person would arrive, be horrified (I’m still not sure what about), stay until she could excuse herself politely and never return. After that, we could be in mixed company comfortably – friendly, but not exactly friends.
Have you ever done this? I’ve talked to a few women before who have. There’s something about creating ideas like this before a situation that, we believe, protects us from potential hurt or harm later.
But in my story, what actually happened (instead of everything I imagined ahead of time), was that she stayed for four lovely hours and God used those moments to show me His faithfulness in a beautiful new way.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life...” Psalm 23:6
This “you, too” friend and I were able to connect over life stories and character similarities, in a way that I have rarely experienced. We were able to talk about and recognize God’s hand at work in our lives and families in similar ways – parallel but still amazingly different circumstances.
It’s an act of faith to welcome a person into your life, willing to be real and transparent, and welcoming what God may do through the person you welcome.
It can be frightening, too. But I realized through this get-together that God creates beautiful connections when we decide that we will not allow our fear of being known to defeat the need He created in us to be known and to have real fellowship in the Gospel.
Is there someone you want to try to befriend? If you place the opportunity for fellowship in God’s hands, trusting Him to work what He wants to do, all the pressure is off.
Open your hands to the Lord, the Giver of all good things. Watch how His goodness and mercy pursues you through other people. Let Him work in those new relationships, and enjoy what He wants to grow and flourish in your life.
“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 but I have chosen you for one another.”
The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Bethany Barendregt is a wife, mom of five, and one of the founders of Women Encouraged . You can connect with her through the Women Encouraged Community on Facebook and on Instagram @bethanybarendregt. This post originally appeared on her blog Joy Lives Here.