There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
When I think of friends, three special ladies automatically come to mind. I have known these girls since we were in elementary school. They loved me through my awkward middle school years, laughed with me at what we now realize were incredibly stupid inside jokes. They were the girls whose families and homes became mine, whose tears I dried when they were feeling insecure, whose shoulders I cried on when I experienced my first heartbreak. When I took a path that was not mine to travel, they stood beside me without judgement, and when I returned home to my true identity, they readily accepted me because they knew all along who I truly am. These girls are the ladies who stood beside me when I married the love of my life, a man I had prayed for, and whom they knew was my God-send. They have walked through life with me, holding my hand, whispering words of life instead of death into my soul every step of the way. They are true friends.
When I survey this friendship I have built over a lifetime, I see in it the same characteristics of my relationship with Jesus Christ. My whole life, He has known who I truly am. He was there even before I was formed; He knew my purpose long before my parents knew my name, and He died for me before I ever took my first breath. When I have been awkward, insecure, hurt, broken, confused, and lost, He has been by my side. When I have chosen to listen to my own mind rather than the heart of God, Christ never stopped loving me; He never stopped pursuing me; He never stopped wanting me. When I came home, battered and bruised from the torment of the world (a beating I led myself into,) He welcomed me back joyously and nursed me until I was whole again. He has been there in every moment - in every joy, in every sorrow - of every day. He is a true friend.
A true friend is someone who cares without hesitation, someone we can trust without limitation, and someone who loves us even without communication.
Christ is all of this.
He cares without hesitation. It does not matter to Him where we are or what we are doing, He cares for our well-being. He cares for our health, our homes, our families. He cares for our needs and even our desires. We matter to Him, and He wants to do more than care for us; He wants to take care of us.
We can trust Him without limitation. There is nothing we need that He doesn't have. There is nothing about our lives, our emotions, our thoughts, that He doesn't already know. He is the One with the plan - your plan, your destiny, and He only wants the best for you.
He loves us even without communication. If we never praise Him, if we never express our love to Him, He loves us anyway. If we shut Him out, reject His invitation, or even refuse to acknowledge His existence, He loves us anyway. If our hearts remain shut to Him for eternity, He loves us just as much as He did the day His body was ripped to shreds on a cross for our salvation.
Jesus Christ is a true friend. He is the One who knows it all, who has watched us make all the wrong decisions, counted every tear, heard every word, and experienced every emotion. He is the One who knows who we truly are, who God created us to be. When we come to Him dirty and weary, He doesn't pay attention to the mess we've made; He simply focuses on the fact that we've come home.
Lord, We have no greater Friend than You. When we think about Your sacrifice for us, Your death, so that we could experience true intimacy with You, we are humbled. To be able to say that the King of Kings is our Friend is truly an awe-inspiring concept. Sometimes it is hard for us to understand that You care for us so truly and so deeply, but in our moments of doubt, spark our hearts to remember that no one loves us like You. For those who have never experienced Your friendship, we pray they will come to know the beauty of a relationship with You. While friendships on Earth are blessings we cherish, we know nothing compares to trusting You and being cared for and loved by You. Thank You for choosing to be our Friend, sticking to us closer than a brother. Amen.
This devotional was written by Megan Forsyth Bolton. firstname.lastname@example.org