Friendships literally lighten our burdens, a University of Virginia study found (www.cbsnews.com/news/friendship-close-ties-that-enhance-extend-life). Psychology professor Dennis Proffitt and a team of graduate students asked other students to stand at the bottom of a steep hill, put on a heavy backpack, and, by using a pie-chart device, estimate the steepness of the hill. A friend stood by some students; others participated alone. The results, the researchers said, were unequivocal. “ ‘They find the hill to be steeper if they’re alone, and less steep when they’re with friends,’ said Proffitt.” In other words, friends make us stronger.
My friendship with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Nancy, has stood the test of time and circumstances. We were friends before I accepted Jesus and joined the Adventist Church as a teenager, and we are still friends all these many years later. We’ve supported and consoled each other through breakups with boyfriends, the deaths of our parents, and health issues as we age. We’ve also rejoiced with each other during the happy times. Our belief systems, lifestyles, and worldviews differ, but tensions between us have never arisen because of it. When introducing me once to someone, Nancy added, “Sandy and I have never had an argument.” I hadn’t realized that until she said it, but she was right. Never once. Nancy—and other dear friends—have certainly helped to make me stronger.
Earthly friendships are precious, but one Friend rises above them all—Jesus. When we stand before the “steep hills of life” carrying burdens on our backs, He’s not only there with us making us stronger; He also lifts the burdens from us and carries them Himself.
What a Friend we truly have in Him!