I’ll Go With You
In June of 2009, Trish and I were preparing to move from Indianapolis to Nashville to work at a church again after almost four years out of ministry.
It was a big step of faith for us. RefineUs was just a blog and only a few months old. We had no aspirations of writing a book, traveling or speaking.
A few days before our move, my mom came to our house to share some news with me that she’d been keeping from me my entire life. She and my dad had recently divorced after 36 years of marriage, and in that process, God had begun to do a new work in her. She couldn’t live with this secret any longer.
In a huge moment of honesty, she told me that my dad wasn’t my biological father, I had been adopted when I was a toddler. She then told me the name of my real father and explained the relationship she had with him before meeting the person I called, “Dad.”
It was a huge bombshell.
There’s a lot more to the story, obviously, but over the past four years I’ve done a lot of questioning, processing, praying and healing. I’ve tried to decide if I want to meet my biological father or not.
Then yesterday, everything changed.
My mom called to tell me that my biological father has been diagnosed with lung and brain cancer and has three to six months to live.
Closure is coming, whether I’m ready for it or not.
Over the years, Pete and I have talked about my adoption and my dilemma about meeting my real dad. Yesterday, I told him about my father’s diagnosis and asked him to keep me in his prayers.
A few hours later, I sent Pete a text and simply said, “If you were me, would you go and meet him before he dies?”
Within minutes of sending the text, he called me. We talked about hypotheticals and different scenarios and how the whole thing could play out.
I was pretty emotional and told him that I am pretty sure I should go and meet my father before he passes away, I just don’t want to.
Then Pete said four words that made all the difference.
“I’ll go with you.”
We’ve been friends since 2001. We’ve planted churches together; pushed babies in strollers together at the mall; laughed together; cried together; confessed sin to one another; confided in each other.
But nothing defines friendship more than presence.
The promise of presence is the essence of friendship.
I’ll be there for you. I’ll go with you. I’ll stand next to you when you meet your dad for the first time. That was the promise.
I said, “Are you crazy? You have a church to run. You don’t have time to do that.” He simply said, “You say the word, and I’ll make it happen.”
If you’re looking for a magic formula to have a great friendship, there are tons of books to read on the subject. There are steps to take and things to say and ways to act that will help you develop deep, meaningful relationships. But nothing is quite as powerful as:
I’ll go with you.
Maybe someone in your life needs to hear that today. I’ll go with you through the fire. I’ll walk with you through the storm. Where you go, I’ll go.
We can all choose to be that for someone.
Thank you, Pete, for being that friend for me.