I’m up at 5 a.m. with a God-thought dropped like a rock upon my mind, and I can’t get away from it. It is something that has ruminated in my spirit for months, yet I’ve not vocalized it with many. Unpopular topics tend to get one unfollowed on Facebook, Twitter… and in life. But, God said write, so here it goes.
2011 has been an interesting year. After my husband received the clarion call from God to become missionaries to the country of Finland in the spring of 2002 (which is a definite story all in itself and one he would share, if anyone is interested), December 29, 2010 saw us packing up our life and moving around the world. January 1, 2011 started one of the wildest ‘rides’ of my life. I won’t go into the homesickness, culture shock, and the other weird and eventful things that we’ve experienced over the last nearly twelve months. I don’t have the time and you certainly don’t have the head-space for that. But, there’s one aspect that was infinitely more glaring than most.
My friends were missing.
[Before I go on, this blog isn’t meant to condemn or point fingers at anyone. A spiritual application applies, and that’s where I’m going – it’ll just take a few paragraphs to get there. Bear with me, because I really am not complaining. I’m making a point.]
When going to a new country where one doesn’t know a soul, he/she can certainly expect to experience loneliness. It takes a good while to really get to know someone. Years of one-on-one conversations, habitual meetings in church services and the like, friend and family gatherings, etc. are the foundational building-blocks in a friendship. And, one can’t expect to see depth like that overnight, or even in a few months. So, leaving behind relationships that fit into every one of those categories, and more, can be a pretty hard thing.
What’s even harder is when those with whom you thought you had a relationship – a friendship – seem to forget you.
In the age where email and Facebook has pretty much made snail mail obsolete, and VoIP phone numbers make a telephone call so easy, one would think that contact could be maintained. Not.
Now, I wouldn’t trade what I do for all the gold in the world (or all of the tea in China). Our God-given purpose is the reason I want to keep on breathing every day. But, let’s face it. It’s pretty difficult being a missionary sometimes. No one really understands someone who is willing to give up hearth and home and traipse half-way around the world for who-knows-how long – maybe forever?And, that’s when it all begins.
The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” pretty much sums it up.
But then again, who am I to talk? Have I done the very things that I have listed? Have I written everyone who matters to me? Have I called them? Probably not… I just can’t go into why. But, that’s just life.
I wonder how God feels sometimes.
Let’s think about this for just a minute. He left the grand universe and came to earth as Jesus, a defenseless babe. He lived just 33-1/2 years, and during that time more people hated him than he can count and at the end of his life, when everything started to seemingly fall apart, every single friend that Jesus ever had deserted him.
Fast-forward to today. The best, most amazing, special Friend that we could ever have in the world is literally everywhere at once. Now seriously, who could ask for anything more? Here’s Someone who is available 24/7, is willing and ready to listen to anyone and everyone at any given moment, and who loves us more than we could possibly ever fathom.
Does God ever get lonely? (He must, or I wouldn’t be sitting here typing instead of sleeping in my comfy bed.) I wonder who He’s missing right now?
When is the last time you really talked to Him? Better yet, when is the last time you let Him talk to you? True friendships are a two-way street. Every relationship has a give-and-take, and anyone that says differently is just dead wrong. Even an animal, who can’t speak, knows how to make someone feel loved and appreciated.
Is our relationship with God just one of hit-and-run? Gotta hit Jesus up with those prayer needs for a few minutes. Oh, sorry God, I don’t have time to sit and listen to you talk to me. Ya know, stuff to do, places to go, people to see…
Here’s an interesting scripture. Are You not our God? Did You not drive out the people of this land before Israel, and give it to the seed of Your friend Abraham forever? (2Ch 20:7, MKJV) I am not a scholar of Biblical timelines, so I don’t know the exact span of years between Abraham and Jehoshaphat. But, for him to know that Abraham was God’s friend had to mean that the relationship was talked about quite a bit through the years. Fast forward to after Jesus ascended into heaven. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.“(James 2:23, MKJV) Wow. Now, that’s what I call a friendship. Talk about spanning time and space… and, anyone who has ever read these verses in the Bible know of God’s friendship with Abraham! Since He has been around forever, God has definitely known a lot of people. How many can say this of their relationship with Him?
Even David had a special place in God’s heart. And when He had removed him, He raised up David to them to be their king; to whom He also witnessed and said, I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after My own heart, who shall fulfill all My will. (Acts 13:22, MKJV)
I’d like for God to consider me as He did Abraham and/or David… let’s just say, I work on that relationship every day.
It might be that there are a few names added to His list now. Scripture speaks of a record book that God is keeping. And I also beg you, true yoke-fellow, help those women who labored in the gospel with me and with Clement, and others of my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the Book of Life. (Philippians 4:3, MKJV)
The one who overcomes, this one will be clothed in white clothing. And I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:5, MKJV)
Do I keep a record-book of my friends? No, not really. I can’t even include our Facebook friend list, since it also includes a number of casual acquaintances. Do I have an ‘invisible list’ of those who fit the criteria of true friend, and who make my day when I hear from them? And, does my mind record what does – and doesn’t – happen? Sure! I’m human, just like you. But, since I’ve learned that sadness and loneliness can turn to bitterness, none of the things that I’ve reminisced about here stay with me. You see, Jesus and me – well, we have an understanding. When I get homesick or lonely, I spend time either at His feet or in His lap, because He’s not only my Friend, He’s my Father and He loves me like that.
Speaking of the that record book, what about you? How’s that God-you relationship going? Is Jesus missing His time with you?
No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, MKJV) Think about that for just a minute. This is God we’re talking about. Jesus died for you because He loves you that much. And, He’s waiting for some friend time with you.