Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory….
1 Peter 1:8
I Don’t Need to See Someone to Be Their Friend
I have a friend I have never seen.
No, I’m not talking about a friend like Elwood P. Dowd’s Harvey (for more about Harvey, go here.)
I’m not talking about an imaginary friend. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever had an imaginary friend growing up.
What I mean by “unseen friend” is that I have a friend that I have never seen face-to-face.
In 1988, I was working as an announcer, engineer and producer for KFUO radio in St. Louis. KFUO had one of the largest classical music libraries in the country. I love classical music, so I would peruse the library after work often.
I came across several CD’s that were not strictly speaking classical but were in the library nonetheless. We called these recordings “crossover” albums. They had classical elements to them, but they could also be categorized as “jazz” or “new age” or “ambient.”
That was when I first came across the music of Richard Souther.
Richard’s music is somewhat difficult to categorize. His recordings most often show up in the “new age” section of a record store. Not the spiritual or religious type of new age, but modern jazz/ambient/world music type of recordings.
For an example of Richard Souther’s music, go here.
My Friendship with Richard Begins
Let me fast-forward you about ten years to 1997. I had recently moved my family to Wisconsin where I accepted a call to be a pastor at a church in a small-town.
In our new house, my wife and I decided to not only have cable TV but also connect to the internet, which was quickly becoming essential to everyday life in America and in my ministry at that time.
One day an email came in from a man by the name of Peter. He asked me to produce and host an internet radio program on his “BostonPete.”website. He asked me to produce and host a Christian music radio program, but music that was not “mainstream.” It would be mostly instrumental music – guitar or piano – by Christian artists. Devotional thoughts would be dropped in between the music selections.
I was going through my personal music collection and came across a recording by Richard Souther called “Mary’s Question.” Could this, in some way, be a reference to the Virgin Mary. I found Richard’s email and contacted him about the song.
It turned out that Richard Souther was a Christian artist! He had produced several recordings for the 1980’s group “2nd Chapter of Acts” and other Christian musicians and had made several Christian recordings himself.
I was able to work in some of Richard’s music into my radio show and we kept emailing back and forth. He recorded some promos for my show and even an interview for the show.
That started a friendship between us that continues to this day. Richard provides music for the True Man Podcast and we have also collaborated on two Christmas podcast specials.
Richard also wrote the forward to Christmas Moments II: An Epic Journey of Biblical Proportions.
Still, Richard and I have never met face-to-face! We are good friends. We talk quite frequently – usually through email or instant messenger. But we’ve never been in the same room at the same time!
It Isn’t Easy to be Friends with Someone You Do Not See
How can you be friends with someone you’ve never met?
I grant you, it isn’t easy. But it isn’t without precedent, either.
Billions of people profess to not only be friends, but to love someone they have never really met in the flesh.
I’m talking about, of course, Christians and their relationship with Jesus.
Christians Believe in a Savior They Have Not Seen
Jesus Christ lived on this earth a long, long time ago. Yet billions of people since then have loved Jesus.
Even though they have never seen Jesus they believe in him. They are filled with an inexpressible joy because of their faith in Jesus.
This is possible because of faith. The Bible says that we “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) which means that we do have faith in what we don’t see.
Seeing Jesus Isn’t Necessary to Believe in Jesus
While it can be easier to believe in something we can see than in something we cannot see, when it comes to Jesus, it isn’t necessarily so.
Friendship – Christian friendship – can work the same way. And it does. I know. Because I have a friend I haven’t seen, but he’s as close a friend as those I can see.
Heavenly Father, thank you for my friends – the ones I see and the ones I have never met face to face. Thank you for the gift of faith that doesn’t require sight. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2018 True Men Ministries