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WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT?

Katherine Briggs, Enid Adah Nyinomujuni & Hope Harle-Mould

Jesus calls us to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). When we follow these commands, God often surprises us with friendships we never thought possible—friendships that have the power to overcome . . .

 

Gaps in Age and Life Experience

In one of my college classes, I sat beside a military veteran who was 20 years older than I was. Our life experiences were vastly different—he had lived in several countries, had seen combat, and was divorced. But I knew these differences would never have stopped Jesus from reaching out to him, so I introduced myself.

Soon, we were helping each other study, encouraging each other to finish the class well, and even discussing our beliefs. When the semester ended, I was thankful that I had chosen to be a friend in spite of our differences.

Whom do you know that needs a friend? Go, be that friend. Imagine the adventures God will give us when we follow in Christ’s footsteps.

—Katherine Briggs

 

Tribal and Family Differences

When I first met Alice, I didn’t expect that she would become a good friend. The idea that I could have a true friend from a tribe other than my own had never occurred to me.

Alice loved the Lord. She was committed to attending church, and so was I. Our love for God brought us together. As our friendship grew, we started visiting each other’s home. In time, our relatives on both sides accepted our friendship.

Being friends has made us better people. Alice has a forgiving heart; she willingly forgives those who wrong her and shows them goodness in return. Being friends with her has helped me learn to do the same.

I am grateful that God brought us together and has blessed our friendship. What unexpected friend has changed your life for the better and brought you closer to God?

—Enid Adah Nyinomujuni

 

Racism and Rivalry

In the heart of Hitler’s Germany, the Olympic flame of courage and equality grew brighter because of one heroic African-American athlete and his German archrival.

Jesse Owens courageously traveled to Nazi Germany as part of the 1936 U.S. Olympic team. He had recently set world records for track and field, but many wondered how he would compete on a hostile world stage. Owens responded by winning gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400-meter relay.

Then in the long jump, Owens faced off against German Carl Ludwig “Luz” Long, the European record holder in that event. When Owens faulted on his first two attempts to qualify for the finals, Long came over to assure Owens that he could easily jump the necessary distance. He also suggested that Owens move his marker back several inches to ensure he wouldn’t fault again. Owens took his advice and landed a superb jump. In the finals, Owens jumped well beyond Long and won the competition.

Long was the first to congratulate Owens. Then arm in arm, these two unlikely friends walked around the Olympic stadium, symbolizing the triumph of the human spirit over bigotry and hatred. How can you embody the power of love and friendship to change the world?

—Hope Harle-Mould

 

—from devozine (November/December 2019). Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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