A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Kristin Stiles
Growing up is hard. Having a friend to share joy and sorrow with is such a blessing. What happens, though, when you lose a close friend or when you just haven’t found someone who fills that role? It can be devastating to a child. Trillia Newbell explores that topic in her new book, Jesus and the Gift of Friendship.
Zeke has an amazing best friend. They do everything together. One day, though, Zeke’s family moves, and his opportunities to be with his friend come to an abrupt end. Zeke is heartbroken. Knowing what has been lost, he wants to develop that friendship again with someone new, but it’s just not happening. His mother sees his sadness and offers him comfort and advice. The comfort is that he already has a friend who cares for him and wants the very best for him. That friend is Jesus. He is the friend who will never abandon him. The advice is that Zeke should begin praying and ask God to provide him with a friend to play with and to ease his loneliness. Zeke takes that advice and begins to faithfully ask for a friend. Several months pass, but Zeke is persistent. Then, in God’s timing, a girl who is so much unlike his previous best friend, asks him to play and a new friendship develops. Zeke reflects on the stories that his mom told him about how varied Jesus’ friends were during His time on earth. He thanks God for this new friend, but also appreciates all the more the friendship he has with Jesus.
This is a sweet story that allows the reader and listener to feel the prolonged disappointment of Zeke, but to understand that he is not despairing. His mother correctly pointed him to Jesus as the ultimate source of satisfaction. Zeke became content with what he had before a new friend was provided. This is a great lesson for children to learn before they are inevitably disappointed by life in this fallen world. Our hope and joy should ultimately come from God.
This book does well in promoting the topic of friendship being a gift from God. It does not present much in the way of the gospel message, however. According to Romans 5:10, we all were at one time enemies of God and it is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that we can be reconciled to God and enjoy “friendship” with Jesus. I think that is an important context that parents should provide when sharing this book with their children.
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.
Buy the books
JESUS AND THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP, by Trillia Newbell