|Volume 21 Number 1 January 2019||
Deuteronomy 8:11-20; 32:18
We have all been overlooked, ignored and forgotten at one time or another. The glaring sign of being forgotten is that we are alone, abandoned and not noticed; it creates anger and disbelief. We try and contact the forgetful ones to let them know they forgot us. If the forgetful ones are genuinely sorry, we happily forgive them. However, if they behave like it wasn’t a problem, then we have justifiable anger, and we never trust them again. We might even leave them behind and move on to other friends and family members.
God made us in His image, so He feels this same emotion when we forget about Him. When God finds Himself miles away from our thoughts, He pretty much reacts the same way we would: hurt and angry. He’ll contact us to remind us about our appointment (Matthew 21:33-45). If it was an accident, He forgives us gladly, but if we leave Him behind on purpose, because something more interesting came along, God will be angry. He will, in turn, leave us behind and eventually avenge Himself on us.
Why would God’s people forget Him? Men forget God because of a lack of interest in keeping God’s law, because of the deceitfulness of luxury and wealth or because of problems and tragedies. We forget that we didn’t create ourselves and that we have no control over this life or nature. We forget God because of our own self-seeking lusts.
We cannot honestly expect to spend eternity with God in Heaven if we allow things to distract us from His friendship in this life, and if we never apologize and make up for it. We, ourselves, wouldn’t want such a rude person living with us in our own home!
There are many sad stories of forgetfulness in the Bible, like the prodigal son where the father was daily, hungrily gazing at the horizon, praying for and hoping for his son to return to him (Luke 15:20-24). Through Moses, God constantly repeated, “Be careful not to forget your God!” We can let Moses teach us what God thinks and wants from His people (Galatians 3:24-25). He wants to be remembered, thought about, talked to and loved—just like we do.
What Is a Forever Friend?
Martha Lynn Rushmore
Throughout life, we meet many people. Some are just acquaintances, some are fly-by-night friends, some are just faces you recognize, and some are closer than our family members. This article is very personal to me. It is about our Forever Friend. Yes, some of us have very close friends.
What is a friend? Webster says a friend is “(1) one attached to another by affection or esteem,“ such as, “she’s my best friend.“ Also “(2) a favored companion,“ someone with whom you enjoy spending time. My idea of a true friend is someone who exhibits loyalty, faithfulness, truthfulness and respect. Such a friend will tell you the truth even if it will hurt your feelings, but with love and tenderness.
Another way you can tell that you have a true friendship is if you do not see one another for a long time, but when you do you pick up with each other, it is as if you were next door neighbors. When you can do this, it is a real sign of friendship.
Have you ever met a person and right away you fell into a close relationship? I did with one girlfriend the first time I went to her house. I walked about six-blocks with my three sons—two walking and holding onto the stroller and the youngest in the stroller. She did not expect us. When I knocked on the door, she was surprised. She had us come in even though she had been doing laundry all day. There were clean clothes everywhere—on the dining table, on the chairs, on the couch and hanging to go upstairs. She had to clean off the couch so I could sit. We hit it off right away. Our sons played together and soon became best of friends.
Another lady friend and I met briefly at lectureships on a yearly basis. Then, we had a kind of bumpy start. Afterward, though, we became best friends also. We did a lot of visiting, and then, they moved away. We saw less of each other, but our friendship grew and grew. We talked regularly on the telephone. She and her husband moved many states away, so we really saw less of one another. We still talked regularly, and they came north for visits, during which they stayed with Bob and me. We also would go visit them when we could. Our relationship grew and grew.
Later, she got sick, and it was so hard because I knew that someday she would go on to her heavenly reward. To this day, she is still in my thoughts and in my heart daily. She was a great friend and an encourager. Today, I am doing things I never thought I could do because of the life she lived for the Lord and her many inspiring words. I miss her; sometimes, I wish I could talk with her just one more time.
Proverbs 17:17 reads, “A friend loves at all times but, a brother is born for a time of adversity.” This friend accepts us not just for the good times but when things are not going so well, too. We work out our differences and go onward. This is what true friends do.
Now, to our “Forever Friend.” Jesus is the one who will be our “Forever Friend.” He is our true, loyal, forgiving, trustworthy and loving Friend always. He never turns His back on us. We may leave Him, but He is always willing for us to come back to Him. He is always knocking at the door for us to let Him into our hearts (Luke 7:11; Revelation 3:20) as we obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Jesus will never let us down.
Jesus gave His life that we might have everlasting life (John 3:16). Also, in John 15:13, we learn that there is no greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. Jesus gave up all for us. You can never have a greater friend than our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus suffered on the cross. He was mocked, given vinegar with gall to drink, spit on and had a crown of thorns placed on His head. He was nailed to the cross, the worst death of all. During the time of His crucifixion, Jesus never said or did anything to these people who were crucifying Him. He even asked God to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing. Of course, they knew they were crucifying Him, but they did not believe He was the Son of God and that He had come to save them from an eternal life in Hell.
We sing a song called, “I Have Found a Friend in Jesus.” If we truly mean what we sing, we are saying He is our all and that we have no better friend than Him. He is our Strength, our Confidant and our Mediator between God and man when we pray. We can go to Him in prayer anytime day or night (1 John 5:14). If we are lonely or sad and feel we have no one who loves us or cares, we can go to our Lord in prayer for more comfort than any other friend can give us. Jesus loves us all the time and will listen to us anytime we pray. If we want Him to talk with us, all we need to do is turn to His Word. When we pray, we are talking to God through Jesus—our Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). Then, 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs us to study God’s Word. When we do this, we are allowing the Lord to talk to us. We have one “Best and Forever Friend”—Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.