When Friends Go Away
Bible Reading: Matthew 26:36-46
My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me. Matthew 26:38
Luis was crushed when the girl he liked moved with her family to another state. Loneliness haunted Laurel after her best friend, Samantha, died from leukemia. Ryan felt utterly rejected when two of his non-Christian friends decided he was too “holy” to be their friend anymore. Kara felt ditched when she wasn’t invited to a sleep-over with other girls in the youth group.
Loneliness happens when others pull away from us. Do you know that feeling? Jesus does. Here’s what he might say about it:
“You’ve maybe experienced loneliness-or even grief-because someone you love has moved away or died. I know what that’s like too. My close friend Lazarus died, and I shared the sorrow, pain, and loss that his sisters, Mary and Martha, felt. I cried. Losing Lazarus cut through my soul like a knife. I understand how it hurts when you break up with a friend, when someone turns on you, when someone moves away.
“One of the ugliest experiences of my life happened just before I died on the cross. I had spent three intense years eating, traveling, and ministering with my twelve closest friends. During that time something began to eat away at Judas, finally leading him to betray me. Have you ever stopped to think how I felt when someone so close sold me out?
“But that wasn’t the end of it. The other eleven disciples went with me to the Garden of Gethsemane. I was hurting because I knew I’d soon be facing a situation worse than I could imagine-dying for the sins of all humankind. So I asked Peter, James, and John to pray with me. They fell asleep! In that awful time of grief, anxiety, and loneliness, they let me down.
“When I bore the sins of humankind on the cross, it was an indescribable agony. You can’t begin to understand the sheer hell I endured. In the midst of this awful moment, when I was desperate for my Father’s love and companionship, he was gone! He couldn’t look at me because I was bearing the sins of the world-including your sins. I asked God, my Father in heaven, why he had forsaken me.
“I know what it’s like to be left by the closest person I know. My heart is touched when you cry because you’re lonely. I feel your loneliness. That’s why I will always be with you. I don’t want you ever to be totally alone.”
REFLECT: Are you lonely for someone special right now, someone you are separated from? How would you like God to help you?
PRAY: Tell Jesus that you trust him to stick with you when you feel separated from people you love.