We probably all have that handful of friends who know us, I mean really know us – the good, the bad, the ugly. They’re the friends who know what we’re thinking before we say it, who have heard our stories so many times they can tell them like they were there, who we can go months without visits and pick back up like no time has passed at all.
And, as a follower of Jesus, these people are typically also gospel partners. I stole that phrase from a sermon I heard on Philippians a few years ago. The pastor said, ‘Paul’s answer for loneliness was gospel partnership; gospel, meaning that Jesus is the center of the relationship between you and someone else.’
I love that. And, as I think of gospel partners, the first person I think of is Stacie. Stacie is my best friend in the world: we lived together, worked together, traveled together, and shared every part of life together. Stacie knows my heart better than anyone. And she pushes me to be like Jesus on a consistent basis.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to be part of Stacie’s wedding. It was kind of surreal, you know, watching her get all dressed up and get married. But there was this moment, as we stood in the lobby and waited to walk down the aisle, when I hugged her and just said got all choked up … Because literally in that moment, there were no words to express my excitement, my joy, my gratitude for her.
I would not be the person I am today if Stacie was not part of my life. And even though we live hundreds of miles apart now, I’m thankful for this truth:
Gospel partnerships are not held together by proximity. Sometimes, you’ll be apart. They’re not held by affinity. You may not have a lot in common. But, one thing that will keep you close, grace and prayer for one another. Prayer for one another.
Happy birthday, Stacie Buhl. Thanks for everything. Love you.