2007-01-11 - Weep with Friends
Judg 11:37 But grant me this one request," she said. "Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends , because I will never marry." (NIV)
This is a single thought from a very strange story. I want to take it and look at just one idea from this single verse. Jephthah has made a promise to the Lord to sacrifice the first thing that meets him when he arrives at his home. He as been victorious over the Ammonites thanks to God, and Jephthah wants to recognize that fact. I'm sure he expected an animal of some kind would meet him. Instead, his only child, his daughter, walked out of the door dancing and celebrating to the sound of tambourines. I'll let you read the story.
His daughter would not let her father break his oath to the Lord, but asked for time to go and weep with her friends. She would miss the joys and trials of marriage and having her own family, children and maybe grandchildren and more. All the those very personal things that we might look forward to doing as we are growing up, she was looking forward to as well. I'm sure we can all identify with her in one way or another. It is impossible for my western mind to completely understand why Jephthah was not released from this oath other than to be a warning to us against rash promises. But that is not what I want to focus on.
What caught my attention were his daughter's friends. These are special friends who will stick with you through anything. They are not only there when the sun is shining and life is easy. These are friends that stick closer than a brother (Prov 18:24) that went out with her to share her memories, and lament her soon coming untimely death. These are people that God places in our path that become knit to our hearts and utterly irreplaceable. If a friend like this is lost, it is a void that will never be filled. Someone else may move in to to join that close, inner circle of friends, but the lost friend will never be replaced or forgotten.
I lost my best friend very suddenly to death when we were about 22 years old. I still regret not saying some things to him I wanted to say. I tell my close friends that I care periodically and make sure I tell them things I want them to know. I never want to leave something unsaid again. I have lost friends through misunderstanding or hurt. But the ones I know are special are the ones that come back through, regardless of how long it takes, through any distance or pain. One friend has returned after a quarter century. Others have returned through the pain of my failure or our misunderstanding. Be willing to dance or weep with these friends - not because they would dance and weep with you, but because they are so closely woven into your life. Say important the things that need to be said. If anyone will understand you and be grateful you took the time and opened up, these special people in our lives will understand.
Lord, Thank You for these very special people you place in our lives to share our victories and our trials both small and great. They remind me of Your matchless love, mercy and grace that bears all wounds and ministers to all our hurts. Amen.
Grace & Peace,