My friend and I recently calendared a few marathons, culminating with a race in April, 2015.  It sounds ridiculous to be so scheduled so early, but we have 8 children between us, and the better our planning, the more likely our vision will become reality.  I’m eager for the training and the races, but I’m equally – if not more – excited for time with my friend.  Our lives rarely intersect off the running path, and I love that I know her best in her running gear and a pony tail, without any makeup.  To keep our friendship alive, we sacrifice sleep for a few miles of conversation each week.  Our upcoming races involve travel and more blocks of time together than we’ve had before … I wonder if we’ll have to stand side by side to communicate in the parallel, running fashion to which we’ve become accustomed.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Sincere relationships – the real, no makeup ones that always make you feel “home” – require significant investments of time and outpouring of self.  Honest communication, shared experiences, and mutual love and respect don’t develop overnight.  My relationship with my dearest friend from college – an era blessed with abundant time for friends – has enjoyed great returns from our initial, sizeable investment … the beauty of compounding.  We’re now 468 miles apart, and ongoing investments are needed to keep our bond strong.  Proximity, on the other hand, doesn’t mean less investment is needed.  My dearest friends from this era of my life live 2-3 miles away, and even with our proximity, staying close takes work.  After several days of surviving on e-mails, texts and quick catch-ups, we need a night of laughs, a dinner, or every so often, a weekend escape – time to leave everything behind but our friendship.  Our returns far outweigh our investment of time and self.  And, so it goes with our relationship with God.  We can’t have a relationship with someone we don’t invite in, listen to, make time for, or call.  If we don’t give our time and self to Him, our relationship will be immature and weak.  He’s always available, speaking to us through His Word, our experiences, and those we encounter.  And, despite His constant proximity, we sometimes need a weekend retreat to feel His presence.  Extending yourself to others can be risky.  Wasted time and hurt feelings are possibilities.  But, I guarantee you won’t get a return if you don’t invest.  I can also guarantee that any investment you make in your relationship with God will multiply 10,000-fold.  There’s no risk, and it’s never too late to buy in.  Can your portfolio manager make a promise like that?

Dear God, please help me want to invest heavily in my relationship with You and the dear ones you place in my life.