My earthly dad was a fireworks attorney while I was a young kid, so we have a lot of memories lighting things on fire and watching them explode. One memory sticks out the most though. My dad brought home this smoke grenade that was used by the military to hide troops as they were passing by. Joyfully, we ignited that bad boy and realized we opened a can of worms that we weren’t prepared for. The smoke came billowing out of that thing and didn’t stop for what seemed like an eternity. We feared the cops were going to be called after we realized smoke was lingering over the road in front of our house. Thankfully after a solid 25 minutes, the smoke eventually stopped and we avoided arrest.
As I was replaying this story years later, a question popped into my head: Why didn’t you just run through the smoke and extinguish the thing? Instead, I choose to sit back and watch as cars drove through smoke so thick they could barely see five feet in front of them.
I don’t know how to say anything of lasting value without the Word of God, so I figured
that’s where I should point us to. In 1 Samuel 23 we see David in the wilderness literally running for his life from King Saul when Jonathan (Saul's oldest son and David's close friend) went to David and said this: "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”
Jonathan boldly stepped into David's clouded outlook and delivered a message in truth that began to smoke out the worry and fear that surrounded him. This passage exemplifies what it means for someone to step into our smokey struggles carrying the only tool that could clear the smoke.
For me personally, someone who strengthens my heart in God is a FRF. My heart was
made to know God, so therefore I NEED friends that will lead me to Him. In moments of
my life whenever my vision was clouded due to trials we face on Earth, I’ve been saved by a FRF who was willing to brave my smoke. I didn’t realize the true importance of FRFs until a recent season of trial and testing. FRFs were made to be the tangible reminders of God’s presence and pursuit of smoking out our fears and worries in the midst of heartache, pain, and confusion.
One of the most powerful moments for me was when my numero uno FRF, Nick,
showed up for me in a season of wandering, confusion, depression, and embodied truth that resonated so deeply it carried me through the pit. He didn’t hit me with bible verses, or try to fix what I was going through. He just showed up, looked me in the eyes, and
reminded me of how God carried him in those same seasons. He strengthened my
hand in God by reminding me of who I am in Christ, and laid hands on me and cried tears of compassion after I had allowed a smoke screen to form around me. I don’t remember everything he said but I remember the moment when the smoke slowly started to lift.
We all have seasons when circumstances and mindsets require an FRF to throw on an oxygen tank and face our pains with us. It’s humbling to admit that I am who I am because FRFs have saved me from suffocating. I imagine Jonathan and David wouldn’t be the examples of gritty faith they are without the FRFs they had. After all, that’s the story of us all. Without the greatest FRF, Jesus Christ, we would all still be suffocating.