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
Brett felt like he had been hit on the head with a hammer when his best baseball buddy moved with his family to another state. Loneliness haunted Laurel after her friend Samantha died from leukemia. Ryan felt totally 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 from church.
Loneliness happens when others move away from us. We think we can count on a friend always being with us. But suddenly-or sometimes over a stretch of time—that friend vanishes. Sometimes friends choose to go away-they find a different friend, their interests change, or they just don’t like us anymore. And sometimes friends don’t choose to leave us—they simply don’t have a choice—like when they move or die.
Do you know that left-in-the-dust feeling? Jesus does too. Here’s what Jesus might say to you about your loneliness:
• “Maybe you have experienced loneliness—or even grief—because someone you love has moved away or died. I know what that’s like. My close friend Lazarus died, and I shared the sorrow that his sisters, Mary and Martha, felt. Losing Lazarus cut through my heart like a knife. I cried (see John 11:35).”
• “One of the ugliest experiences of my life happened just before I died on the cross. I had spent three action-packed years with my twelve closest friends. We had eaten, traveled, and helped people together all that time. But my friend Judas betrayed me (see Matthew 26:49). Have you ever stopped to think how I felt when someone so close sold me out?”
• “I took the other eleven disciples with me to pray before I went to the cross (see Matthew 26:36-46). I knew I’d soon be facing a situation worse than I could imagine-dying for the sins of every person on earth. So I asked Peter, James, and John to pray with me. They fell asleep! Right when I needed them the most, my best friends let me down.”
Jesus knows what it’s like to be left by people close to you. His heart is touched when you cry because you are sad and lonely. He feels your loneliness. He lived through the same difficult things you have to, so he understands your hurt.
TALK: When has a friend left you? What happened? Did you let God comfort you?
PRAY: Lord, I believe you care for us and feel bad when we feel bad. Thank you for your comforting arms around us.
ACT: Have you felt God’s comfort grab hold of you like a huge strong hug? Look for someone today who needs that comfort from you.