Friends and Storms

You are not alone…

Weather - lighteningI remind myself today that the purpose of my blog is multiple. Writing for myself is cathartic, writing for others is difficult. Writing what I want to leave a legacy about is necessary, because it is in the words that our most solid long term communication is stored. Memories of voices and actions will fade, but the word will last forever.

My blog has a title: Algorithms for Life. Life is nothing if it is not filled with formulas for living. Formulas are nothing except they show pathways through the morass that will perhaps leave clues for others to follow. Formula’s are important, though predictable. In fact, in my programming days I wrote code that made use of many formulas…

But before the formula can work you must verify the data that is being provided…. And before a storm, you need to know that you have friends that will be there for you…

I am reminded of a song, and though sung by many, the voice that rings through my mind comes from a great friend and pastor, Brett Jones.

Till the Storm Passes By
Words and Music by Mosie Lister, copyright 1958

Mark 4:39

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
Peace be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place.
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try,
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

So much of what we think about is selfish. It is possibly the greatest failing of most human beings. We think and act according to the needs and wants of – “Me…”. What do I get out of it? What’s in it for me? What will others think of me? How do I live with myself?

Way too often we think only of self.

Yet the greatest satisfaction and peace often comes when we think and act for others. Specifically, what do you do for others when they come under fire? When they have their storm? When life is throwing another bowling ball down the gutter of their life?

Early this morning as I was reading through the past hour of tweets (this is all I have time for), a trend popped out and I started thinking about all of these friends in my life who have been there for me when I was in trouble – there, it happened again… It’s all about me….

Let’s put that on the other foot! Where have I been when my friends were in trouble?

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

One translation of this favored scripture states that – “At all times, a friend loveth, but in adversity he is born (i.e., becomes) a brother.” It is the same author that states:

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

I am blessed with siblings. Two wonderful brothers and one sweetheart of a sister. I would like to think that through all of our past troubles we were there for one another, and will yet again be there for each other into the future. Yet, the reality is often that we have other friends in our lives that “become” our brother during times of adversity. Friends seem to span time and space and come to our aid in a heartbeat. Friends seem “to know” when we need something and often have just the right word or action to succor us during the darkest of nights.

There is something about being a friend … in order to have a friend … so that friends “become” our brothers during storms.

On one hand I find that I must define the word and concept of “friend”…

  • I have many acquaintances, but so few “real” friends.
  • Who are my friends? What is a friend?
  • What will my friend do for me?
  • Do I do for my friend only what he/she will do for me?
  • Is there an accounting sheet to balance favors between me and my friends?
  • Am I so petty that I must balance my favors to so called friends by counting how many times they have been there for me?

Today, I glanced through the many categories of my “friends” on Facebook. The total number says over 1,300. Not to dash anyone’s self importance, but whittle away the acquaintances, business associates, cross connections, and groups – what is the true number of “friends”?

And when someone is facing a storm, the true friend comes to their support and, perhaps, rescue.

Facebook tells me someone is still grieving after burying a loved one, another is still working on life after the death of a spouse, another is having money problems, and still another is anguishing over a burned down childhood memory house (you know(!!))

How can you be a true friend to all these number of folks in your life?

A friend does not have to have pearls of wisdom to quote, nor platitudes to deliver. No. Oft times all we need is to know that we are not abandoned during our storm. Friends often stand by ready to deliver assistance wherever is needed!

My mind thinks back through the years and to all the various friends I had at the time of a storm and I think…

…What is the formula I mentioned at the beginning? What is the ‘algorithm’ of life that will stand the test of time through the ages?

Just be there. Stand through the storm with your friend.

Thank you, friends, for being there for me during my storms…


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