You have already read how I have always longed for a deep and true friendship in which I would feel loved and accepted. I just didn’t know what kind of friendship would fulfill my desires.
For years I had searched and been disappointed. Time and again I was hurt and disillusioned. I had even given up hope of finding such a friend. But God has revealed to me that now I already have TWO such friends, and there will be more to come.
About a year ago, I think, I found out that Ivy has also been praying and hoping for a deep and genuine spiritual friendship – the kind of friendship that David and Jonathan in the Bible had. At the time, I felt a wish that I could somehow be the one to fulfill her wish, but I didn’t feel worthy. But yesterday, God told me that I am that friend she has been praying for. And He wanted me to tell her so when I saw her today.
So I told Ivy with unabashed joy: “Hey, you know that friend you’ve always prayed for? The friendship of David and Jonathan? God told me to tell you that I am that friend!” Ha ha… you think that sounds thick-skinned? I tell you, I have never felt such humility in my life as when I uttered that, even when I was filled with such happiness.
Ivy’s immediate response was, “I know that already. That’s why a few days ago I wrote on my Facebook status that my prayer of 7 years has been answered!”
I had actually seen that status of hers. “You mean that was referring to me??”
“Yes! I just didn’t want to specify because then my other friends might misunderstand that they are less significant lah.”
Why do I say God is amazing? I met Ivy 20 years ago. We worked together closely and were good friends, but never really close. Then I went overseas and we drifted apart. For years we didn’t know the details of each other’s lives, and we both went through difficult times.
Ivy’s mother passed away. Her father remarried. She gained a step-mother and a step-sister. She struggled with bulimia. She went through many terribly difficult times and through it all, she never once approached me to confide in me. Ivy also found Christ while I was in Canada, but for many years we never really talked about our faith or shared about God.
I went through my share of difficult times. (In time I will share about it, but the time is not yet arrived). And I, too, never really told her. When I did, it was more of doing an ‘update’. And so it is that Ivy and I, though we were friends for so long, never opened our hearts to each other.
Until I came back for good in 2007. Somehow I noticed we were able to share more easily and more deeply than we ever had before. Before I realized (and I don’t actually know when it happened… it was all so gradual), I found that I was baring my soul to her in a way I have never done with anyone. So much edification and encouragement came from our friendship.
And yet, all along, I never knew what it felt like on her end. And somehow it didn’t matter. I didn’t need to know. I just felt free to reach out to her when I felt like it, and to be there for her when she needed me. I felt free to ask for her time when I desired to confide in her – with a freedom I never had with any friend before.
And now, after 20 years, and so many different seasons in our friendship, God has granted the prayer of our hearts. (Ivy, you only prayed for 7 years hor, I’ve been praying for like 21 years!) And what’s more amazing is that I know there will be more such life-giving friendships for the both of us. For our God is a generous God. He has a purpose and a plan, and He grants our deepest desires when we are ready and He exceeds all our hopes and expectations!
Ivy, when we talked today at Wheelock Place, I felt my heart burning within me like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We were not alone. I want you to know that over the last few years, your faithfulness has inspired me and disturbed me in times when I had fallen away. You’ve been a beacon. I look forward to all the amazing times we will share in the future that God has promised us!