Someone asked about 'real friends' and then launched into a coffee shop opinion piece about how only real friends are face-to-face friends. I disagree. Even in the Bible, and before, there were intensely strong friendships that existed with infrequent visits, occasional letters and living in love and prayer.
There is a trap we can fall into thinking that 'fellowship' and 'friendship' need be a face-to-face construct when it can happen in any way God deems best. One of my best friends, the one person who says, "Oh I get that!" instead of muttering "What?" lives in Australia. We may never hug or see each other's faces until God calls us home. Do we have a real friendship? Indeed we do!
Another friend, your host of this link up, Duane, is someone I've emailed and built a small friendship with. We read each other's posts and emails, and we totally know where the other is coming from, we get it. One day perhaps we'll meet. It does happen.
I met my husband online, over 10 years ago, and we have not only an amazing friendship and marriage but a beautiful life. Those months of talking and sharing long distance were relationship builders that help us now facing other challenges in our lives. He is as real as a man can get, as a Dad can get, and yet we met in such an impermanent way. God is so good!
Do you connect with friends from long ago? Do you pray for people you just met? God can use your time in the social online realms as much as He can in your daily errand running, job doing, living life days. Where else can we log on and find a prayer partner no matter the day or night?
God wants us to love one another. He wants us t encourage one another. He doesn't say where or how, frequency or distance. He says just do it. Just love as He loved. Encourage has He encouraged.
When I open my Facebook in the morning I see the eight faces in my friends pile. I look at each and I pray for them. Right then, just a holding them up to God prayer. Something so small, and yet if we did it all think of all the people who would be covered in prayer every day? Say a prayer for the next person who texts you, who emails you. We'd do it at a stop light or in the grocery line, wouldn't we? I try to. Even when I don't feel like it, I know it is a great honour for us, as Children of God, to pray for one another.
Friends are real, no matter what their form. God brought them into our lives and even for a short time, we need to remember for Him it is all about sharing the Good News, loving and encouraging. God does not care if it is via email, text, on a social networking site or in Church, at the park or parking lot. Why do we?
Remember to visit the others who are sharing at Scribing The Journey and link up your thoughts as well!