To Have Friends

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Prov. 18:24, NKJV.

“Mom, I’m going to the car!” I said these words each Sabbath after the church service was over. Then I would disappear from the group.

It hadn’t been easy becoming a Christian in my teen years. All the young people in my new place of worship had known each other for years. I was the “new kid on the block,” and I felt that no one wanted to be friends with me. Whenever Mom voiced her concerns about what I did each Sabbath, I’d tell her, “Nobody wants to be friends with me.”

Each morning, before Dad or I woke from sleep, my loving mother would be sitting on an outcropping of rock, enjoying a panoramic view of our farm. This was her favorite spot to talk to God and meditate. No doubt she had taken her petitions on my behalf to the Lord.

One day she said to me, “Lynn, dear, has it occurred to you that to have friends you must show yourself to be friendly?” Slowly it dawned on me: I needed to do my part; and with the Lord’s help I endeavored to reach out to my new acquaintances and to stop disappearing into the car after the church service concluded each week.

I also read the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and found the advice contained in its chapters to be very helpful. As each Sabbath dawned, I was amazed by the way the Lord heard my heartfelt petitions to help me overcome my shyness and to let go and let God rule in my life.

The years passed quickly; my new acquaintances became friends for life and, eventually, it was time to continue my tertiary education. With the Lord’s continued help, that shy young schoolgirl eventually became a primary schoolteacher.

When I look back over the 38 years of my teaching ministry, I think of the many times the Lord has sustained me and given me the words to speak. Many people have inquired about the secret of my naturally friendly personality. I can answer that with the Lord’s help all things are possible—after all, if He changed a shy country girl like me into a teacher, there is nothing too hard for Him!

Lynn Howell

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