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Best Friends with a Prayer

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FEBRUARY 21, 2013. We watched his first
performance on Philam Life Auditorium stage. 🙂

Here’s Jopel Bargan.

He’s the guy I am praying for right now.
I can say, we are, today, “best friends with a prayer”!
Haha that’s a made-up term for the friendship we share today.
Our friendship would seem bizarre to most of you. Because if you say that we’re MU, I would laugh because “MU” is definitely not the best way I could describe this amazing friendship between us. That term has a connotation that its meaning is too shallow, too immature, too selfish.
In 2010, a barkada was formed after the Against the Flow District Camp in Bataan. There we met new friends from different places. After two years of being churchmates, that was the only time I knew he existed.. Hahaha!

In late 2010, I got to know him better because we worked together in Arenda, with other friends. We also had group devotions, which was often led by this young man. Also, our tropa used to eat lunch together after TFCN’s morning service.
One day, after eating lunch, I announced to the tropa that I was to lead our CG later that afternoon. This guy challenged me to share my topic to the tropa. I was so intimidated by him and the others, because back then they were long-time leaders already. That’s why I did not want to share it.

DECEMBER 19, 2010. See his unconcerned
face when I was crying? Haha!

But this guy was saying stuff like, “Wala ka pala eh! Di ka pala prepared. Nako dapat ang lingkod ng Lord laging prepared. Kahit sino kaharap dapat kayang magshare.”
He was “bullying” me like that. And I started to cry..

However, that was the very reason why I came to him to evaluate my weaknesses. Because, besides of seeing my weak points, he was that bold and honest to say my weaknesses in detail. Haha. I really wanted to grow deeper in my faith. That was why, when I saw someone who finally saw my weakest points and had the guts to tell me so frankly it hurts, I always had my actions evaluated by him.

Time came when we became closer because I was also the one who had the guts to tell him what he was doing wrong. Our other katropa were too intimidated by him, and that’s when I realized that my intimidation faded as I saw him as a helpmate. I thought that telling him his weaknesses is some kind of helping him the way he has helped me.

Time came when only the two of us were available to go to Arenda. It was a great time for us to encounter God together. Every after our Arenda session, we talked filled with amazement with God. We talked about our prayers for the youth in Arenda.

JULY 2012. Arenda was flooded, stormy.
We went anyway.

The more I get to know him, the more I realize that our personalities are sooooo different! We have different preferences in everything. From things as trivial as favorite foods, to things as grand as perspective on some serious topics.
That was when I realized that the only common denominator was our love for God.

I was annoyed at some of his behavior, however, I saw my annoyance irrelevant.
Why? Because it does not change the fact that we have helped each other to grow deeper in God a lot.
I am saddened by the fact that he hates eating lugaw, thin crust pizza, green mangoes, santol, ……. and many others of my favorite food. He cannot be my food trip buddy 🙁
But hey, how could that little difference overpower our same passion to talk about God all the time? 🙂
He’s not my food trip buddy, but he’s definitely my seeking God buddy! 🙂

I am very happy because we got used of focusing more on God every time we were together, and not ourselves. We would talk about each other’s spiritual life, ministries, CG’s.. We would talk about each other’s opinions and prayers on what happens in church, in our families and even in current events! Hahaha! Our differences really spices up our conversations – both our perspectives grow wider!

The list of our differences grows longer and longer everyday.
Somehow, the passion for God we share also grows every single day!
And that’s something I am really thankful about this friendship. It is obviously God-given, a great blessing to both of us.

What’s going on between us?

At the first months of our friendship, when our closeness was already getting attention, people around us tried to convince both of us either to make it official or to go separate ways. They say that we were magka-MU (mutual understanding – for Filipinos, it meant that both parties have feelings for each other, but do not want to commit in a serious relationships), they say it was not healthy, and we should end it as soon as possible.

Honestly, it felt like we were celebrities. People around us were making such a big deal about it, our tropa even had misunderstandings because of our friendship. 🙁

We did not want to be hard-headed and to be disobedient to our Lord whom we both serve.
That was why, hearing those things around us, we did not just tried to defend ourselves and to become bitter. (No, we did not fight as if its “Jopel and I against the world”)
That’s why we grabbed that intense moment to pray harder about our friendship and constantly ask God what He wants us to do with our friendship. People around us have different opinions of what we should do about our friendship, so we found it extremely necessary to consult God Himself about it!

We talked to our CG leaders and youth pastor, and to other people who were spiritually mature, and who knew us on a deeper level.
We talked to our closest friends. We talked to other friends.
I tried searching the net for books! I did not look for books that would help me defend our situation, I looked for books that would actually rebuke us if we’re doing something wrong. Something that would only tolerate and amplify my pride would be of no help. However, I was led to books surprisingly approving the kind of friendship that we had. The kind of friendship that sincerely gets to know each other, without too much focus on emotions, and all the attention to God.

For months, we prayed about our friendship as hard as we can.
We were even ready to go separate ways if that’s what God would tell us.
Gradually, things fell into their places.
After all that’s happened, all the rumors, all the judgmental eyes that looked on us, all the concerned words of some friends rebuking us, God tells us that our friendship is okay. In fact, we could use it to minister to others! This friendship we choose to offer to God! 🙂

The important question would always be:
is your friendship God-centered or emotion-based?

 And for you to know if it is God-centered, ask, are you God-centered individually?
Have you been attached to him because of your feelings (and just justify it with being God-centered “kuno”)?
Or is it your mutual love for God that attached you to each other?

What are we waiting for?
Yes, we are waiting for something before we go dating.
We are waiting for God’s go signal.
For now, it is pretty obvious that it is not yet time. We have a lot more to do in our individual ministries, in our CG’s, in our studies and in our families. God is telling us not to focus on what we feel for each other. He’s telling us to just keep on serving Him and the time will come.

I was praying last Sunday about this. A thought struck me. If we decided to date earlier in our friendship, when everyone around us was telling us both to make it official, we could have had wrong reasons for making it official – ano yun, para lang matapos yung issue kaya magiging kami?
We could have focused to our feelings for one another, and become less focused to our ministries.
I would have taken it as a license to be extra sweet to Jopel until everyone else around me fades into the background.
I was so immature back then. Being in a relationship in that early stage of friendship could have made me love Jopel and forget loving all the other people around me.
While waiting for God’s go signal, I am learning so much about loving other people around me. 🙂
I am learning to not desire a relationship with Jopel too much that my desire to have a deeper relationship with God would be compromised.

So for now, I am focusing on the other things God wants me to do. 🙂
Yes, my friendship with Jopel is there, growing deeper everyday, but my relationship with God would always be more important. If God would allow us to enjoy a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship someday, I want it to happen in His perfect time. Because that way, it would be so beautiful, certainly more beautiful than what both of us have ever imagined! 🙂

DECEMBER 9, 2012. We watched a classical guitar concert of his guitar mentor.

We are not yet in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship not because we are scared of commitments.
Our friendship today is already a commitment – we guard each other’s hearts by not developing a similar friendship with the opposite sex.
We are not yet in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship not because we are just playing a game of pakiramdaman.
We know how each other feels. Our terms are clear, unlike MU’s. (malabong usapan) Ask us any question about our friendship, and we would be ready to respond what God told us when we prayed for it in the past.
We are not yet in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship not because of lame excuses..
We are too God-fearing to hide behind excuses.

We are not yet in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship
because we are waiting on God. 🙂
And that’s our prayer – that we would both go wherever God leads us, especially in our friendship.
Pray for us, too?

What are your thoughts about waiting? 🙂

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  1. I praise God that He used this to encourage, Miss Dianne.
    It is indeed hard to go against the grain when it comes to romantic relationships. But God never fails to encourage if our desire is to glorify Him with our love stories!

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