When you were a child, did you ever tell one of your friends that you were their best friend forever?  You may have even made a pact, promising to let nothing ever tear your special bond apart.  All of this, just to find that many years down the road, the only communication either of you can make time for is to send an annual Christmas card and form letter through the mail.  Funny how things change, isn’t it?  Still, there is one friend who will never change.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He will never forget the promises He has made to you and I.  He is the one, true, forever friend.

In the society in which we live, we have deadlines to meet, phone calls to make, and families to care for each and every day.  Often, the day-to-day responsibilities, whether desired or undesired, may interfere with our ability to have and maintain long-term, quality friendships.  Still, if God is at the center of our friendship, we may be blessed with life-long friendships that result in that special bond we once experienced as children.  We may feel that our friendship is the best we will ever experience.  We may think of our friend as the most perfect individual on the face of the earth.

In other instances, we may make a friend who we feel a unique bond with, yet they are oblivious to our desire for camaraderie.  Or they may decide to be our friend for a season, only to find a more “perfect” friend.  A friend may tell you a lie, they may cancel a lunch date, or they may promise to call and later tell you they “lost” your number.  It’s true; some friends may prove to be undependable.  In Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), we read: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  Sadly, it is true that some friendships we make in this world will not last, and often, these crumbled friendships will cause us pain, embarrassment, or distress.  Isn’t it comforting to know that we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus is a friend who will be with us, through prosperous times and destitute ones, healthier days and ailing ones, joyous moments and sorrowful ones?  He will never leave us.  He is our friend forever.

Recently, I taught a lesson to my students about a speech written by George Graham Vest titled, “Tribute to a Dog.”  The speech talks about how "man's best friend" is loyal to its master to the very end.  Consider the dog: a dog loves its master unconditionally.  A dog does not see a person’s skin color.  A dog does not see what type of clothes you wear, how you wear your hair, or even whether you are short or tall.  A dog does not care if you have great riches or if you are living paycheck to paycheck.
Inevitably, we could take a lesson from the dog.  Think about it: how would the world be different if we looked at other men, women, and children completely indifferent to their ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or physical appearance?  Certainly, a world void of prejudices would be a much more positive place in which to live.  God has called us to be this type of a friend.  John 15:13-14 (NIV) says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Jesus wants us to experience long-lasting friendships, where loyalty surpasses all hindrances this world may bring.  He commands us to “Love each other” (John 15:17 NIV).  Jesus desires for us to be so devoted to our friends that we would do anything we could to encourage them always, to help them when they need it most, and to simply love them unconditionally.

Even if there are times in life when a friend lets us down, there is a friend who will never disappoint us.  John 15:15-16 (NIV) shares one of the wonderful promises found in God’s Word: “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.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”  Not only will Jesus be our friend forever, but He promises us that He does not hide things from us when He says that He has revealed everything He has learned from the Father to us.  He wants us to be prosperous, as He says that we will bear fruit.  Furthermore, He promises that we will receive our greatest desires, if we will simply ask the Father.

The next time you make a new friend or reconnect with an old one, remember the scripture that says, “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV).  Show the love of Jesus in the way you look at them, through the words you speak, and by radiating joy of Jesus through the smile on your face.  If a friend betrays you, or causes you pain, do not dwell on the disappointment, but look to the friend who sticks closer than your family or friends.  Jesus Christ is the one true friend who will never change.  Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  He loves you so much that He literally gave His life for you.  Call on the name of Jesus.  Ask Him to be your friend.  He will never leave you, nor forsake you.  He will never let you down.  He will be forever faithful, forever loving, and forever with you.  Jesus Christ is the quintessential forever friend.

In Christ’s Love,