Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn and a variety of other social networks, most of us are connected to a lot of people. We have friends, or at least that’s what is implied by the 827 people who wanted to connect with us. Sometimes we do reconnect with old friends, old acquaintances, people we went to high school or college with and think, “Oh, we’re still friends.” Well, in some measure you are. But how many of those online “friends” actually are part of your core relationship base? How many of those people share a real friendship with you? Maybe that requires more definition of what friendship really is.
Many people suffer from loneliness. They may have 4000 Facebook friends or live in a big city or belong to a good team of some sort, but left to themselves, left to consider who they might call when they were in trouble, they are hard pressed to come up with answers. They might not be totally aware of who their real friends are. I think networks like Facebook are a good thing if they remind us of people we care about and we have a chance to peek into their lives with the things they post. I try to imagine though what it would mean if I had a “Facebook” friendship with God. What if all I did was stop by to see a picture of His kids, or catch up on a great quote He wanted to highlight in Scripture? What if all I really knew of God was what we texted back and forth from time to time, wishing each other well?
If God and I only had a Facebook friendship, I’m tempted to say that in a pinch, I still would not know that God was the one I could turn to when trouble landed on my doorstep. Why? Probably because we would not have developed our relationship face to face. We would not have had endless conversations on the phone or in prayer or driving in the car. We would not know each other well enough to know where to begin to give comfort or advice. Turning to God in my life means that we have a relationship. We have a friendship that is real and solid and if the power went out across the globe, I would still not be alone;He would still be my friend. If someone pulls the plug on Facebook, I’m not sure how many of us would find our “friends” again.
My intention is not to disparage Facebook and having friends there. I appreciate Facebook and I think there are many good things about being able to connect with people you know. What I question is where do we connect with each other as true friends, where we find the support we need when we feel alone or overwhelmed or uncertain? Your friends, your real friends love to be in your presence, to see your smiling face and listen to your heart. They love to hug you and share the meaningful aspects of life with you. They pray for you and stand up for you and hold you close. Those are the friends that make your life worthwhile, that keep you smiling and remind you of your great value and incredible worth.
Maybe your friendship with God serves as an example. I know for sure that He cares more about you than anything else. He wants to be your friend face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul.
Blessings to my beautiful friends on Facebook and to those who hold a place in my heart forever. I’d love to see any of you, any time, face to face. And maybe, what I’m also hoping is that our friendship network would evolve passed a random glimpse of each other in the hallway of life. You’re welcome to stop by with a word of encouragement or a good chocolate chip cookie just because you want us to be together. I want friendship to mean that we never feel all alone.