God understands the pain and loss we feel at the separation or loss of a friend. The Bible is full of stories of normal everyday people experiencing both the joys of life as well as the heartbreak that can also come along with it. You are clearly not alone here; find out how God views this pain we experience.
When I was growing up, there was a family of four boys who lived behind us named the Walters. Chris was my age, and we hung out a lot! We had a chain-link fence between our adjoining back yards with a very active gate. To his house, to my house, to his house and back the days would go. When summer came, we spent more time with each other than with our families. We listened to records (yes, 45s back then), played with army men, caught caterpillars, and put on a neighborhood circus! Chris was the ring master and I was the strong man—in tights with a fake barbell. We had a blast together, and we were fast friends! One day, I got the message that Chris and his family were moving. His dad was in the FBI, and they got ‘orders’ for Washington D.C., which meant (as you well know as military kids) that the times together were coming to a screeching halt! In almost no time, Chris was gone. Life stopped for me.
He was my BFF, and I did not know what to fill that void with. I tried writing a letter, but most 11-year-old boys are lousy at that, and, after a while, he was just gone. Life moved on, and I made other friends at school, and I lived through it. But I do remember the pain of it all; not having a say in anything that happened. I had very little idea of how to cope, so I just forgot Chris. That’s not a particularly good coping strategy, but that’s what I did. Since I hadn’t thought about our friendship in a very long time, I recently tried to look him up on Facebook. There are several Chris Walters, but none that are the Chris Walters. I may keep looking, but I’m not sure what I will do next if I do find him. As military brats, you are certain to have many more of these incidents than I did growing up. How do you handle them? Does God understand when we are separated from or lose friends? I think so, and he has included some good stories in the Bible to help us connect with a very common hurt for all people. Check them out.
David was very close to his friend, Jonathan, whose father was King Saul. Both Jonathan and Saul were killed in the same battle, and this story describes what David did when he heard the news. Look at the song he wrote as a ‘lament’ (a mournful song of grief or sorrow), and you can see in the last verses (25–27) how much he will miss his close friend, Jonathan!
Scripture: 2 Samuel 1:1–27
- Have you ever had a friend die (by accident or disease or suicide)? How did you handle it (how are you handling it)? What did you do with the pain?
- David and Jonathan had a very close relationship as friends (See 1 Samuel 18:1–5). How do you think that writing the lament for his friend helped David through the pain?
- What strategies do you utilize to keep in touch with friends when you move away from each other? Texting? Facebook? Skype? Letters (lol)? How easy or hard is it for you to stay connected?
- Do you think online connections help or hurt your close relationships with separated friends? How?
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Dear Father, thank you for friendships in my life. But you know how much it hurts when they move away. I’ve gotten good at stifling the pain, but honestly, I don’t want to be good at it. I want to feel, so help me endure the pain of loss and separation. Carry me if you need to. Thank you for your tender care and your constant presence with me. Amen.