Sunday, May 17, 2009

Friends and failure

It’s been a tough year on the friendship front for me. Due to the all-encompassing nature of my ministry (and my own personality), a lot of my friends are also colleagues, including a number who live in other countries and are of other nationalities.  It has been enriching, as you can imagine. 

In the last year, however, I have had four friendships fall on hard times as the mission has either had to cut ties with them for ethical/moral reasons or they left us under less than ideal circumstances.  Each time, I have felt a keen sense of having lost something significant.  These were men I trusted, confided in, and had hopes for. I have grieved for each and still do.  I find myself whispering a prayer for each of them, usually in the morning as I prepare for the day. How a year changes things. I feel diminished, our work as a mission diminished and my ability to trust strained.  On the other hand, it has also caused me to be even more grateful to God for those friends and colleagues whom I can still count on. I think I understand Paul’s statement a bit better in 2 Timothy 4:10-18

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.  Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.  Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.  Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.  Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message.  At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!  But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

I have not ever had to actively cut off a ministry relationship in such a way, but I know that it is always painful to see a friends have to part ways under uncomfortable circumstances. It is good that God has still provided you with good friends to rely on and support you!