Good morning. It is Thursday, December 16, 2021. Jeanette Stark here.
Friendships come and Friendships go Like wave upon the sand
Like day and night
Like birds in flight
Like snowflakes when they land
But you and I are something else
Our friendship's here to stay
Like weeds and rocks and dirty socks
It never goes away! - Jodie Danielle Townsend
Friendships. Relationships. Family dynamics.
There is a saying, “Friends come and go but family is forever”. Is that true? Is family forever? Are friends forever?
It has been my experience that the slightest thing can separate you from the people you love. A misunderstanding. The wrong word at the wrong time. A decision that had to be made. Saying ‘no’ when all they wanted was yes.
Humans are fragile. We wound easily. We heal slowly. Sometimes we do not heal at all but carrying the wound like a badge for all to see and sympathize with.
I have good friends who have gone years without a word from their child. Years!
Perhaps you have noticed a shift in attitude? I certainly have. People seem to have changed.
Perhaps it is because of the isolation of COVID, going on close to 2 years now. Perhaps it is the division of belief and thought on getting vaccinated. Perhaps it is the mask mandate.
Small businesses closed, concerts cancelled, sporting events, schooling, and live TV now all done through Zoom or other long distance type media. Our normal has become anything but. We have been isolated and it is wearing on us.
People seem to have changed. Maybe it has always been this way, and we only see it because we are ‘older and wiser’. Or perhaps it is because Jesus is coming soon!
We are told that attitudes and loyalties will change just before Jesus returns to take those who love Him to Heaven.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” 2 Timothy 3:1-4 ESV
That is harsh!
Those are strong words and I think, if we are honest, we all realize we are living in those times.
Jesus was talking about the end times when He said “…Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.” Luke 21:10-16 NKJV
It is hard to imagine people that were once our closest allies could in fact become our enemy. It is hard to believe, but the Bible tells us it can and will happen.
“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.” Matthew 10:21 NKJV
“Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.” Mark 13:12 NKJV
“and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’” Matthew 10:36 NKJV
Micah 7:6 “For son dishonors father, daughter rises against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.” NKJV
What can we do?? Oh, there is good news!
We can be gentle and meek.
“rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4 NKJV
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 NKJV
We can be humble and seek the Lord.
“Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth…seek righteousness, seek humility…” Zephaniah 2:3 NKJV
Most importantly, we can be compassionate, kind, patient, forgiving and loving!
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
Friends, Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem in Luke 21, but He went on to talk about His second coming.
“And there will be signs…and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity…people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world…And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28 ESV
King James puts it this way, “then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Indeed! Look up, Jesus is coming soon, and it will be glorious!
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NKJV
I look forward to that day with great anticipation. I hope you do as well!