Friday, May 16, 2008

"Do you ever have those days where you wake up and you just feel alone?"

The question that prompted this post was posed to me last night by one of my Young Life girls at our weekly bible study. I didn't really have to think about my answer before I responded, but I took a moment to formulate my thoughts. "Yes!" I replied. "I feel this way more than I would like to admit."

As part of my study with the girls last night, we talked about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. Ruth refused to leave Naomi, no matter what the cost or pain or suffering. She supported them both by doing basic slave labor. She stayed true to her mother-in-law and was adamant that she remain by her side. There was a bond there. This bond was created because of immense sorrow at the loss of people that they loved dearly. In the end, Ruth's devotion to Naomi brought her a romance beyond compare and pulled her into the lineage of Jesus Christ. How awesome is that? The relationship between Ruth and Naomi provides us with an incredible glimpse at the bond that Christ desires to have with us. As sinners, we have experienced incredible loss. God sent His son for us to have a relationship with. To give us someone with whom we could bond and share our joys and sorrows with. Someone with whom we can experience a romance beyond compare. He sent His son to give of Himself in a way that only true friendship and love could. In the end, the reward for our faithfulness to our friendship with Him brings us into the family of Christ and we are able to experience all the benefits of being sons and daughters of the King!

In our discussion time, we talked about friendships and the bonds that we have with various people in our lives. We all contended that we had friendships that never seem to fail us. That no matter the time apart, we were able to pick up where we left off. We discussed the reasons behind these friendships. Most of them were created because of some type of similarity in our lives where we were experiencing the same type of situation. These relationships and bonds are precious to us because we feel a connection. There is a sense of safety in common ground. We crave the companionship of someone who can share in our emotions and feelings, whether good or bad.

While I thought about my own feelings and began to sort out the mess and confusion, I found that there has been a lack of companionship that embodies common ground. Now, please do not take this to mean that there has been a lack of companionship in general. Quite the contrary! I have been surrounded by loving, compassionate friends who have been there for me when I needed them most. Their love and encouragement has prodded me to happiness and joy because they exude happiness, joy, and contentment in their own individual situations. They prayed with me and for me and pushed me towards my Heavenly Father. On those dark mornings when I wanted to pull the covers back over my head and fall back into a dreamless sleep, I reached out to my Rock and Redeemer. On those mornings when I thought "It will be by the grace of God that I get through today...", He never once failed me. He always saw me through. I learned that I didn't necessarily need an earthly companion that had been through the exact same thing that I had been through. What I needed was a Savior who had suffered enormous pain and grief and died on the cross for me. What I needed was His all consuming love, grace, and mercy. And he gave of all three, willingly and to the fullest.

As our time together came to an end, I began to encourage the girls to cultivate their friendships with each other, but more importantly to cultivate their relationship with Jesus. In the moments when we need Him most, when others fail us, He is there. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

" I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever." -Psalm 121

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