Monday, October 22, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Reunions

Best Friends Forever
A devotional by Dana McNeely

If you live in the United States of America, you may be familiar with the term "BFF" which when people are talking about friendships, means "Best Friends Forever." 

Have you ever longed for a BFF or do you have plenty? Today, I'd like to talk about what my high school reunion taught me about having an Ultimate BFF and the Ultimate Reunion that only He can orchestrate!

My Recent Reunion

Earlier this month, my husband and I attended our joint high school class reunion. I won’t tell you what year we celebrated but I will say that it was a BIG year. We both graduated from a small Christian High School in the town we still live in, but we’d rarely seen any of our classmates over the years. Yet it was so easy to step back into time and revisit friendships.

On Friday night, we sat together in the stands and cheered the team at homecoming football game. On Saturday afternoon/evening we mingled at a classmates home, in the westernmost nether regions of town, braving rain-filled potholes and a stretch of dirt road.

Back to the Future

It was so easy to reconnect after (ahem, mumble) years. We laughed and teased and reveled in each other’s stories. We celebrated milestones, admired pictures of grandchildren, and more than once, we commiserated over hardships, sorrows, and deaths.

I was reminded of the 1985 movie, Back to the Future, in which 17-year old Marty McFly accidentally time-travels thirty years into the past where he must make sure his then-teenage parents meet and fall in love so that he will be born. This movie explores how fate, chance, and a little mad science might shape a life’s direction. Those of us who love God know He directs our lives, not fate or chance, but there were parallels between this time-traveling tale and my high school reunion.

Like Marty’s parents, several in our high school had married each other. Most of our lives had taken surprising turns. Some had maintained very close friendships and some hadn’t seen each other since graduating. But we all felt that bond of shared experiences of the past – old ties still unbroken. When the evening ended, we left reluctantly, vowing to do better at keeping in touch.

The Ultimate BFF

Even though we’d been physically separated for many years, we were all still friends. Good friends! How can that be? 

I’ve mentioned some of the actions that define friendship for me: Caring, listening, sharing stories, laughing, commiserating, and celebrating . . . and this group of old friends shares something more – a common faith in the lover of our souls. God is the Author of all true friendship, but the friendship between Christians has an extra spiritual dimension because we bring God’s wisdom and direction into our conversations.

For example, Exodus 33:11 describes how Moses talked face-to-face with God in the tent of meeting. They were friends! Moses wasn’t perfect, gifted, or powerful, yet God chose him. His human weakness and imperfection forced Moses to rely on God for wisdom and direction. It’s that way for all of us. When we face difficulty, we can ask God for help.

Proverbs 17:17 (NIV) says it best: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Whether God uses a Christian spouse, brother, or sister to help us in time of trouble – or some other means – we are never alone, because God is our friend, just as he was Moses’s.

What a friend we have in Jesus!

Early in my Christian life, I learned a song with the words “I am a friend of God – He calls me friend.”

“A nice idea,” I thought for years. “But kind of conceited. You think God is friends with lowly humans? Where’s the proof for that?” Silly me. It’s everywhere – in Scripture and in the world around us. But the first time the truth of God’s friendship slammed into me, I found it in John 15. 

Here is the poignant passage from John 15 that brings tears to my eyes every time when I read it: 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” –John 15:9-12 (NIV)

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” 
–John 15:13-15 (NIV)

The Ultimate Reunion

God is your Best Friend Forever. He has known you from before you were born, and He loves you. And if you’ve been apart awhile, God is always ready to reaffirm His love for you.

Now it’s your turn! In the comments below, please share your thoughts on friendship with God and with others. I’ll be dropping by several times today and the rest of the week to chat.

Author Bio:

Inspired by the Bible story of Elijah and the widow’s son, Dana McNeely wondered why the prophet had come to stay with these two. Who were they? What was their life, before? And how did the boy change after dying, seeing the other world … and coming back?

Dana began research for her novel, “Rain,” which tells the story of the three-and-a-half-year drought from the boy’s perspective.

No stranger to drought, Dana lives in an Arizona oasis with her hubby the constant gardener, two good dogs, an antisocial cat, and migrating butterflies. She writes biblical fiction, cozy mysteries, and has written for magazines and newspapers. Her short story “Death in the Butterfly Garden” appears in SoWest: Killer Nights (2017).

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