All our friendships in this life are affected by sin. They cause pain almost as easily as they cause joy. In addition, no matter how good our friendships are, what is the point if death will one day rob us of all we’ve invested into these relationships?
If Christ is the centre of our lives and relationships, then death does not have the final word. One day we will step out of the dark and cramped room of our earthly lives and step into that vast and colourful world that Jesus has been preparing for us.
On that day, God’s people will see the full manifestation of the reconciling power of the Cross. One day the tension in eschatology will be over and God’s Kingdom will be fully here. Jesus is coming back in real space and time and it will change friendship forever - and for the better. The Good News declares that Jesus is making all things new and that depravity’s days are numbered. That’s the day we are really longing for.
Personally, the most precious and the most painful thing about my years here on earth have been a longing that I struggle to articulate. All my cherished moments with friends have left me with a hunger for more. Not for sexual experience - as could be misinterpreted - but hungry for an intimacy, a touch, a cuddle, a tender whisper that no marriage or friendship in this world will ever completely fulfil. The Bible says that for now, 'we know in part and see in a part.' But it will not always be so. One day we will know others fully, 'even as we are fully known'.
This is more than nostalgia. I have within me the taste of a meal I’ve not yet eaten - the desire for a caress I’ve never felt. I long for that pinnacle from where it all flows. I ache for the mouth of the mighty river from which the intimacies and friendship that I’ve experienced in this life flows. If the small streams down here are – at moments - intoxicating, what must it be like to drink endlessly from the Universe’s headspring? That's the place we have always been meant for and it's only within that Trinitarian friendship that our often painfully lonely souls will be fully satisfied. This is the pang which brings me to tears when no one is looking. But this hurting hope also assures me: one day I will wake up and finally be home.
Also, for a look at what the Bible says about close friendship across the gender divide please check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.