I remember a prayer I offered a year or so ago. I’d just found out that someone I care about had given a going away party for “family and close friends.” I wasn’t invited. Deeply hurt I cried out to God, “Lord, what’s wrong with me?” He didn’t answer.
More recently someone I’ve told my deepest secrets to married off her eldest. No white embossed invitation came to my mailbox. I felt the familiar sting of loneliness and rejection. So I prayed again, “Lord, what’s wrong with me?” This time a Bible verse popped into my head. Actually, half. Only half of the verse came to mind.
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24b NIV
I can still picture the side of my refrigerator in college. Held by two fruit-shaped magnets hung a list of all my friends and their phone numbers. It was a long list. Today I could count my friends on my fingers… of one hand.
I’d always heard that to make friends you have to be a friend. I figured if I don’t find my way onto someone’s guest list, I’m the one doing something wrong. So I prayed, “Lord, what am I missing?” Another Bible verse surfaced.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
I said out loud, “Lord, I know you love me. But I want everyone to love me.” I closed my eyes tight and prayed yet again, “Lord, what’s wrong with me?” God answered with a familiar verse. But this time I looked it up and saw the whole thing.
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Loneliness and rejection are part of the human experience. If I measure my worth solely by the size of the list on my refrigerator, I may well come to ruin. I’m sure I’ve let my companions down even more than they’ve slighted me. I’d hate to be the cause of their “ruin” and I’m not willing to let them cause mine.
One of my favorite Bible verses says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NIV
I thank God for this promise. Love makes forgiveness possible. And when I fall short of loving you or you fall short of loving me, God’s love will more than cover our need to be loved.