The Love of a Friend

1 09 2019

I was talking to a pastor friend of mine sometime back and he related to me a situationRock _n that was breaking his heart. As a boy back in his hometown he had a friend that, as the saying goes, was closer than a brother. From elementary to high school he and his pal, Josh were constantly together. They would stay at each other’s home, played sports together, and as it was called back in the day, partied a lot together. Their friendship was so strong nothing could drive a wedge between these two. That is until their junior year. My friend, at the urging of some others, attended a youth Bible study and within a couple of weeks gave his live to Christ as his Savior. Immediately he wanted to tell Josh all about it so that he might become a believer also. Afterall, Josh was his closest friend and just knew he would understand and give over to Jesus also. But Josh’s reaction was to the contrary. He couldn’t believe his friend was silly enough to get caught up in all that nonsense, so he rejected the invitation. It wasn’t long before Josh rejected his childhood friend also.

Graduation took the two boys in different directions. Josh was awarded a scholarship to play baseball for a college near their home, and the other chose a Christian school several states away. At the end of his undergraduate, my friend enrolled into a theological seminary. Finishing that, he excepted a position to do mission work in Africa. There he stayed for ten years until returning to the states to pastor a church in Indiana. He and Josh no longer communicated, but he did his best to see how his old pal was doing. He knew Josh had left school to play baseball in the minors and for a time South America, before taking a job in the private sector near the college he had attended. A few years passed and word came that Josh was in trouble. He had been married and divorced twice, could not hold a job and had turned to heavy drinking. That was all he needed to hear.

The pastor immediately drove to Josh’s location and hunted until he found him, not looking like the handsome, physically fit young man he once was. Josh was elated to see this man and listened to all he had to say. And after many years of hard living that got him nowhere, he gave his live Jesus.  Now this would be a happy story, if it ended here. But it doesn’t. Josh didn’t have a home so he returned to Southern Indiana with the pastor who put him up in his own home until he could get a job and a place of his own to stay. One evening Josh came up missing. When the pastor found Josh, he was drunk at the local bar. Taking him home and getting him sobered up, Josh cried because of his fallback and promised he would never do it again. But the scenario kept playing out the same; he would sneak off and get heavily drunk, his pal would go get him and Josh would cry for forgiveness. This went on for six months until my pastor friend could go no further. Purchasing a bus ticket and giving him an ample amount of money out of his own pocket, he sent Josh home where his family was waiting for him. This broke the man’s heart. He had tried so hard to help the one he once saw as closer than a brother, but in the end, Josh just wouldn’t accept it. Some would say that he gave up on Josh, but the truth of the matter is completely contrary to that. He summed up the whole situation with words from Billy Graham, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict. God’s job to judge. And my job to love.” Even though he had to send Josh away that didn’t stop the love he had for this man. As I write this, I know that he continues to follow up on Josh’s progress, seek help for him where he now lives. But most of all, he prays for him every day.

G.K. Chesterton; “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

1 Peter 4:8; “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

I don’t know if the path of these “Travelers of the Rock Road” will ever cross again. It’s hard to say. And I sure can’t say Josh will straighten up his life and see the truth; actually, I’ve met a lot of Josh types. But this I do know, as long as a breath of life is in his friend, he won’t give up in hopes that some day the rock road he and his childhood buddy traveled, will be replaced with the Road to Glory.

Now that, friends, is the love of a Brother and convicts this old man.

See ya next time.

 


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