I fear that this post will be, after 3 glasses of whiskey earlier tonight, rather incoherent. hopefully it’ll be funny as a result. well, maybe sad & funny.
when I come back to SG for my breaks, I really look forward to meeting up with my friends whom I haven’t seen in a while. I treasure the time we spend together, catching up on the parts of our lives which we’ve missed out on due to the long distance.
this time it feels different though.
for some reason I feel rather foreign. an alien life-form, almost. (or perhaps more accurately, an alienated life-form?) it feels like the embers of the relationship, with at least some of my friends, are close to being snuffed out.
have they changed? I think so. somehow it seems like they don’t value the same things as they did before. somehow my memory of them from years gone by doesn’t correspond with the reality of them which greets me in the present. this makes me feel disoriented. like I need to wake up from a dream.
but equally, I think I’ve changed as well.
as the train of life choo-choo-ed along, the years have somehow, insidiously, warped our perspectives and mindsets, changed the things we value in life ($$ instead of satisfaction in Christ; mammon instead of God)… the draw of the world is just so strong.
maybe I’m just being judgmental. legalistic. assessing the degree to which others continue to treasure and delight in Jesus. if so, I join the tax collector in praying: “have mercy on me Lord, a sinner.”
but part of me fearfully concedes that there is an element of truth to my suspicion. that i’m not entirely wrong or misguided. and this saddens me.
however, one thing is for sure:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8
and just prior to this, in the same chapter:
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5b-6
God is the only non-arbitrary reference point.
everything else, including me (no surprises here), is subject to change. even if only subconsciously. as human beings we are temporal creatures and have to put up with the associated difficulties: time, changes in seasons, (old) age, sickness, death, et al. but if we cling to Him, fixing our eyes on Him as we run this race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:1), I am convinced that we’ll be ok. more than ok – we’ll have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
maybe I’ve been clinging to Him more, whilst my friends have drifted. or maybe not, and I’m a hypocrite. but all this is immaterial. we are not to become judgmental and condemn others for “straying”. that would be Pharisaic.
we should instead start by looking at ourselves. do we treasure God as we should, by placing Him at the centre of our lives and our existences? or have we replaced him with idols – girlfriend/boyfriend, academic pursuits, money, material gains, family?
only when we find our true joy / satisfaction in Him, can we truly share this joy with others.
not least our friends who have lost sight of this first love.
(/edit) note that this section was added in ex post facto, after some further mulling on the topic.
w.r.t. the above discussion, I realise also that the converse is true. I’ve found that with those friends who have continued to seek God, who have persevered in faith, who have fought the good fight… the bonds with these friends have not eroded with the passing of time.
rather, if anything, the friendships have strengthened, imbued by the knowledge of our one-ness in Christ.
the time spent together with these friends is truly uplifting for the soul. stories of His goodness and faithfulness tend to permeate the conversation, and we are mutually encouraged as we recall the battles won – in spiritual warfare – by His Spirit.
this real, tangible unity in the body of Christ is a beautiful thing, and I am thankful for it.