A Forever Friend

Lyn Thompson, Pastoral Care, CTCA/Southwestern Regional Medical Center

... and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. - Proverbs 18:24

Sibling rivalry has been the subject of numerous books. My four daughters, each about two years apart in age, were living proof of its existence in my life. They fought over a multitude of things ... who would sit in a particular chair in front of the television, who would choose the room color, who would ride "shotgun" in the car, who could tell their daily experiences first on the way home from school. They competed for grades, on the basketball team, in speech tournaments, for recognition and praise from their dad and me. You name it, it was fair game for a controversy. But, despite the fights, they were deeply loyal to one another, completely united against anything they deemed an outside attack on one of them.

The Bible, though, says there's a friend who's even more loyal to you than a brother or sister, someone you can count on ... someone who sticks with you ... never leaving you to go through life and difficulties alone. That someone is God.

Not a loner Himself (a Triune God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit), God created mankind to be in relationship with Him and with each other. Relationship and unity are important values to God. He talks about them over and over in Scripture.

Throughout the Bible, God refers to "His people" and describes Himself with personal pronouns as "your God," "our God," "their God." Psalm 100:3 declares, "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." Deuteronomy 7:9 says, "Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations ... "

It was God the Father who loved the people He created so much that He entered into covenant (an eternal, binding relationship) with them, committing Himself, His resources, all that He has and is, for our eternal welfare. It's God who pits Himself against those who come against us to destroy us. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:31, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

And that's why He sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to take the punishment for the world's sin and die on the cross, so people could be redeemed from the eternal damnation and separation from God that is the consequence of sin. God wanted us to be able to continue in relationship with Him. God was sticking with mankind, even though mankind had rejected God.

It was God the Son who promised that when He died, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, God the Holy Spirit would come to replace Christ's presence on earth, dwelling in the hearts of those who believed on Him and trusted Him for their salvation. He promised never to "leave us nor forsake us, even to the end of the world."

And God's idea of relationship is not just that He knows us and sticks with us, but that we'd get to know Him, intimately, and stick with Him. That's why He gave us the Bible, so we could learn more about how He thinks, who He is, what motivates Him. That's why He wants us to spend time with Him in prayer, both talking to Him and listening for His voice in return. And part of the Holy Spirit's job is to reveal God to us and help us get to know Him better and walk with Him closer.

God made us for relationship with Him. No matter what you're going through, He's there. He created you. He knows you. The Bible says His thoughts toward you are more numerous than the sands on the shore (Psalm 139: 17-18). Spend time with Him today and let Him reveal to you the height, width, depth and breadth of His love toward you. He'll stick with you even in the times and places when your closest friends and family members can't or won't ... in those times and places when you feel completely alone.

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