‘Been burned? I have. Lots of times. The earliest I recall was 45 years ago; 3rd Grade. A girl named Penny [yes, I remember her last name] pilfered my watch. [Why do I remember that? …But I digress.]
Yeah, these forearm scars aren’t the only indications that I’m a glutton for punishment. But, thankfully, my many toastings have yielded more than wood, hay, or stubble. All glory goes to God for the dross He’s ladling off; you can almost see flecks of gold. [Or is that just silver in my hair?]
Today I am reminded, when it came to trials in my life—of not just what God hath wrought, but what He sustained. Of all the treasures that survive the infernos of life, the shining jewels are—you got it—friends; beloved ones that endured the blistering heat right along with me, and never once jumped the frying pan.
When things get dicey, the first ones to bale are the self-absorbed. Then you observe the diminishing silhouette of the fainthearted. Next to go are those who weren’t friends to begin with (clearly deficient in moxy and mojo). Finally, just when you think you’ve been left all alone, they remain: the die-hards.
As the smoke clears, you see their battle-scarred forms approaching—dragging behind them what they themselves were able to preserve from the chaos. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is friendship tried by fire. You can’t shake these peeps—even though the wildest forces of earth and other realms attempted to scatter them.
In the ensuing days, their faithful faces commiserate with you. What had been a hotbed of trouble, it turns out, was the very heat-bond that seals your relationship for the long haul.
And over time, every once in awhile, you remember that there were tears; you might even recall the pain. But most of all, you rejoice—that there was fire.