Monday, March 18, 2013

When It Seems All Has Left Jesus Remains

Have you ever felt alone? I mean really alone? To the point that you have no one left to call. No one standing next to you. Not any one who can understand. It seems almost as though the world continues on while your standing still. It's like you see the motion of life around you, but inside your dying. Trying to catch your breath seems almost impossible. I mean, why breath anyway? Would anyone really notice if you weren't?

Yes, I think at some point we have all been there. Whether as a child when a bully shows up after class, as a teenager when the world seems against you, as an adult when everything seems like it's in shambles. Your just waiting for a sound, any sound, to drown out the silence you feel in your heart. Your soul feels raw. The things that once brought you so much joy now seems so far away. You begin to question everything. Your life feels like a blank slate and you don't even know where to begin or how to dig your way out. Where are those friends you thought were so close to you?

I have felt the loss of friends over the past year or so. I have felt the pain of people walking out of my life one by one. Yes, those women who I thought would be by my side forever are now not even a text away. I know what it feels like to feel forgotten. You reach out and try to connect, but there is no response in return. There are times I see one of those friends out and do you know what I hear? "Gosh girl, I miss you so much!" My heart wants to scream, "Really? You miss me? I would have never known by your actions."

There are times we can feel stranded by family. Goodness, I mean there are just times people don't get it. I'm not sure if they don't get it or they just don't have time to get it. So that brings the question, do we really care? Honestly, do we really care about what is taking place in the lives of those around us? Not on a nosy level. Not at all. I mean on that compassionate and encouraging level. There isn't one of us that doesn't need encouraging.

We misplace our priorities. We get so busy we forget about people. When we leave people in the dust it hurts. When we forget people it makes them question if they really mattered at all.

There is One who understands. Jesus. In Matthew 26:36-46 we see Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He is asking His disciples to pray while He prays. Jesus knows the hour is near. He knows what is about to come. I cannot imagine the depth of His pain at this very moment. We always say we wish we could know what was about to happen. Do we really mean that? I'm not so sure I want to know what the next hour holds for me. I am learning to live in the very moment. Live in this moment and trust the Lord with the rest. If we don't learn to do this we are not truly living. We cannot live when we are focused on what could or is about to happen.

Jesus has a conversation with His disciples three different times. Three times He goes away to pray and returns with His disciples, His friends, not doing as He asked.

My son is that young man who is always there for those around him. If a friend calls in need, Jake is on his way to help. I have been with him when he sees someone having car trouble. He has no problem pulling over to see if he can bring them aid in some way. He will cancel his plans if a friend calls and says, "Hey Jake, any way you can help me?" This is the kind of friend we should all have. On the flip side of that, Jake is that young man who often gets dumped. Friends almost take him for granted. Ever feel that way yourself?

Soon Jesus is betrayed by Judas. This too is understandable for most of us. Betrayal hurts deep. Jesus knew this raw pain. He knew it was coming. Although He knew it was coming He still chose to love Judas. Do you find it easy to love those who have betrayed you? Jesus knew Judas would betray Him and do you know Jesus still washed his feet? He still loved. He still gave. This is the kind of friend we are to be to those around us. We are to be the friend of the lonely. We are to step out and make a difference. Too many times we don't. We make excuse after excuse and then one day we look back and say the words, "I wish I had spent more time with him." Might we choose to live without that regret.

Next comes the denial of Peter. Can you imagine if Jesus would have had His friends near Him? Just one friend who would remain at His side and not run in fear. Jesus too knew Peter would deny Him. Oh friends, how many times do we deny our Savior? We deny Him daily. Again, Jesus chose to love Peter. He not only loved him, He forgave him. This is a great and mighty love.

Soon Judas hangs himself. Jesus is facing Pilate and soon to face the cross. I think Jesus was most likely thinking of those around Him too. That's just the kind of friend Jesus is. I can imagine that while Jesus is facing the cross He is praying for His friends and family. Maybe He would pray they would find strength. Strength to forgive themselves and to move on without Him. Jesus loved greatly. He didn't take His relationships lightly. His relationship with you is important to Him.

See, the thing is the people who didn't believe in Jesus felt they had nothing to lose. They walked away not caring one way or the other. Some had only spent a little bit of time with Jesus. They too walked away. But what about those who had been healed by Jesus? What about those who had been touched by Him? They too walked away. But His disciples? Those friends who stood by Him? They didn't stay. They took off as fast as they could. Maybe fear overtook them. I'm sure each had their reasons, but does that even matter when it comes to a friend?

Where was the compassion, the loyalty, the friendship? We ask these things ourselves as we feel stranded and alone, don't we? We feel like no one cares at all. Actions speak much louder than words. Saying, "I miss you", is one thing, but showing a friend you miss them, now that is another.

"But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled." Matthew 26:56

Jesus is the One, the Shepherd who returns for that one lost sheep. Luke 15:1-7

Jesus is the Friend of all friends. John 15:15

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10

Jesus is our BFF. He is that friend that stands beside us. He never leaves us. Not for one moment. He is there to walk with us. He has carried me when I could no longer walk. He gives us strength when we are weak. He wants to be the first one we go to with everything. He is joyous when we are excited about our walk. I'm sure He has had His share of giggles over our times together. In those times I start to take another path, He is there to call me back. He is the friend who gave all. He is the friend who would not think about giving any less.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Phillipains 4:19

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah." Psalm 46:1-3,7

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Friends, don't give up. Look up to Jesus. He is that Friend who will forever remain at your side. He is the life giving friend. The forgiving friend. The friend who gives grace and mercy. He guides us with His Word. He has given us the Holy Spirit to remain with us always. He hasn't forsaken you in your time of need. Look up. He's here with you. Take hold of Him and He will never let you go. For us, we need to be the kind of friend Jesus calls us to be. We need to reach out and not forget. May we love with a Jesus kind of love all the days we are here.


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