Last night I had dinner with a friend I had not seen in over a year. During that time We kept in touch through short emails and phone calls, but it wasn’t the same as spending time with her. When she walked into the restaurant and we sat down to talk, it was like we never were separated. We quickly caught up with each others family, and then started talking about ourselves — the highs and lows of our lives, our common friends and plans for the future. Later that evening , when we each went our separate ways, I felt like I was wrapped in a warm blanket of love and friendship.
Isn’t it amazing how a couple of hours of friendship can buoy your heart and soul?
Last fall I had the opportunity to share God’s love and offer friendship to a young lady from Beijing. I met her while I was visiting Vatican City and had stopped to rest in the main plaza. We were talking about our travels and common things, like the importance of having comfortable shoes when traveling. Out of the blue she asked me if I believed in God. Wow, I thought, Jesus hold on to me now!
She told me that her grandmother believed in Buddha and that her mother and her believed in “nothing.” Her visits to the large Catholic churches in Italy had concerned her because she could not understand how or why women would be praying to God and crying. Why would these women be crying when they were praying? What would God do for them? How did they know if God answered their prayers?
I took a few moments to consider the best way to approach these questions. I wanted her to know the joy and friendship Jesus offers believers, and that prayer works. I asked if when something wonderful happens she had ever wondered why. She replied it was just good luck. I asked her if she could consider that maybe God heard her desires and granted them. She said she had never thought of it that way. I then asked where she took her problems. It took her a few minutes, but she replied she had nowhere to take her problems; she just dealt with them herself.
I asked her to pray the next time she had a problem. Give God the burden, I said, just as those women in church were doing when they were weeping and praying. I asked her to open her heart and let God in, he would be there forever. I explained to her I have never felt utterly alone because I knew Jesus was with me everyday.
I saw interest in my new friend’s face. She left to explore Vatican City, I hope a different person. I hope she too felt like she was wrapped in a warm blanket of love and friendship.
Featured image: Ecoasis/Photoxpress