Friends Near and Far
One of my best friends daughter is coming to visit us today. We are pretty excited to have her with us. It has been fun over the years to watch her grow up. I have known her since she was a child and now she is in her early twenties. It is hard for me to get my head around. However, in the Clausing house, there is great excitement to have Amy with us for a few days.
Amy’s visit has gotten me thinking more and more about my friends. I have been blessed to have friends spread around the world. Some of whom I speak to on an almost daily basis, other with whom I rarely speak yet I know that when we come together next it will be a joyous occasion. It is funny whenever Team Clausing is going somewhere in the world, our first question ‘Who do we know there?’. Frequently, we can make a connection with someone.
At the same time, it is hard never living anywhere long enough to have deep friendships. Often we settle into a place just long enough to leave a piece of ourselves there. We connect with and love the people around us and then we move to the next place. To be completely honest, that’s what coming close to the end of this PhD feels a bit like. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to leave yet another group of friends behind, another piece of myself somewhere else in the world.
Nevertheless, I am excited about the thing on the horizon. We are looking forward to the next door that we will walk through. And in all this, I am encouraged and prodded to place Epaphras in front of me as an example. Epaphras shows up in the New Testament in just a few places. However, what I am thinking of is what Paul said in Colossians about him. Most likely Epaphras planted the church in Colossae, and for some reason he had to leave it. Yet, as Paul is closing the letter to the Colossians he says:
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. - Colossians 4:12
I may not be able to be with all of my friends all around the world, but I can struggle for them in prayer. This is what I do. In the moments when I miss my friends, the ones who find themselves in all different areas of the world, I pray. I struggle in prayer for them, and entrust them to the Lord’s care and keeping.
Having Amy with us for a few days will be wonderful. It will also be a reminder of friends scattered around the world. So, I will be driven once more to prayer; prayer for friends near and far. I will be driven to faith; faith that the Lord will bless and keep my friends. I will be driven to hope; hope that one day goodbyes will be no more and we will worship together forever before the throne of God, beholding his glory.