I lost a friend on Friday of 23 years. Few people have prayed for me more often over the past two decades than my friend Naomi. When I heard of her home going I immediately felt the hole of a deep friendship gone and a prayer partner who has prayed for me every day as I traveled over two million miles to fifty plus countries, faithfully following my daily schedule.

What was remarkable about this friendship is that I met Naomi when I was 32 and she was 80. She was single as she had been all her life. Yes, she celebrated her 103rd birthday days before she died. For years we met for breakfast twice a month until my travel schedule slowed us down to a monthly visit. We talked God, theology, world events, and for years Naomi devoured the best of my books until her eyes made reading too difficult. Her one fear was that all of her friends would desert her as she aged. I promised I never would and kept that promise.

I was not the only one she prayed for. She had a long list of friends, family and missionaries who have lost a prayer warrior. At ninety I gave her an email machine so she could keep up with all those friends and thousands of emails came and went over a decade until her fingers would no longer cooperate. I know those hands well because she love to just sit and hold my hands in hers as her world became smaller with the loss of mobility and her confinement to a wheelchair. When she wondered why the Lord kept her alive so long I would remind her of how many people she prayed for and was a dear friend too.

To my boys, she was grandma Naomi - an adopted grandma who they have known virtually all their lives. To the end their pictures were a part of her now small world in a nursing home. I don't think they ever really noticed her age until we saw her as a family last Christmas and she was in a wheel chair. Even then it was as if the years peeled back and life was like it always was at Christmas when the family would visit her apartment for an evening of cookies and games.

Friendships are precious. Prayer partners are priceless. Never take them for granted. I will be forever blessed and enriched by this unlikely friendship that lasted for so many years.
  • Sep 19, 2011
  • Category: News
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