When I was about 14 years old, my best friend, Doug, was my "soul mate." We did everything together! We shared each others secrets, and listened to each others problems. In short, we were inseparable.
|Photo: Julie Elliott
And then it happened! We were at a campout together and she caught his eye. She was the same age as us, and I learned quickly that Doug's loyalty to me as a friend had its limits when girls came around. It wasn't that he didn't like me; it was more like he didn't care that I existed.
When I showed up at a softball game he flatly refused to play, and instead sat on the bleachers and paid all of his attention to her. When there was a campfire in the evening he sat on a blanket with her and turned his back to me. All during that week he looked the other way when I showed up. I couldn't figure it out; it was like our friendship never happened.
And then when we returned back home and she wasn't there, he wanted to start being "soul mates" again. It was all very discouraging to think that my best friend would turn out to be my friend only when nobody else was around!
Now that I'm an adult, I can understand a little better why he might have behaved this way, but while it was happening I was devastated!
Maybe you've experienced this with some of your friends, or maybe you're experiencing it now. If it has happened, you understand how something like that can really hurt. Friends are supposed to be friends no matter what, but sometimes they fail to meet our expectations.
Jesus knows what it's like
You can read in the Bible where Jesus had the same experience with his soul mates in John chapter 18. When He needed them most they left Him. When He needed someone who would step forward and say, "He's my friend," his so-called buddy Peter actually cursed and said "nope, not me. I don't even know Him." After all Jesus had done for them they left Him high and dry. That really hurt!
There are at least two lessons in this sad story of Jesus. First, by watching how His friends treated Him, we can promise in our hearts that with God's help we can be the kind of friend that Jesus needed most with those who count on us.
Second, even if our friends leave us for someone they think is better, there is One who never will. Jesus knows how it feels, and He'll always be there for us no matter who else comes along. When it comes to friendship, He's true blue!