Life Lines III : Godly Friendships Never Leave You All Alone

Have you ever been afraid of being alone?

I love team games because, no matter what happens, you and your team are in it together! There's no chance you're going to be left alone as the one and only loser. That's pretty good news for people like me, who tend to lose a lot. Sometimes I'm still terrified of being "the only one."

Have you ever been afraid of being alone?

We've been talking about how great friendships should be lifelines when we need help. Just like a safety net around a trampoline, great friends should be there when you bounce, when you fall, when you can't get back on your feet, and when you need someone to laugh (or cry) with.

But there are going to be times when you feel like you're jumping with no net — no group of friends to keep you safe and secure. Sometimes, you're going to feel alone, and that can be really scary.

It can be scary when:

  • When your family or friendships change.

  • When you lose someone you love.

  • When you hear about a tragedy in the news.

  • When you have to change schools.

  • When you have a secret.

  • When you or someone you love is sick.

  • When you're not sure about the future.

Security Blanket

Before I was old enough to make friends, I had stuffed animals. Maybe you did too. When we were little, we probably all had some kind of security toy, blanket, or pacifier to keep us feeling safe.

Maybe you still have a security item! You may not talk about it much, and you probably don't carry it around with you as often as you used to, but maybe it matters to you. Maybe just knowing it's in your bag helps you feel less panicky.

Life has a lot of ways to make us feel alone, afraid, undone, or nervous. We need a lot of support during times like this. If only a teddy bear could always do the trick.

Learning From Jesus

Jesus was no stranger to loneliness, but He was no stranger to great friends either. In this series, we're looking at four times Jesus was a friend to someone who needed Him. Then we're talking about what we can learn from Jesus' example.

Not only did Jesus show us how to be a lifeline for others, but His friends showed us how they learned from Jesus' example and returned the favor to each other.

John 11:1-16 (CSB)

1Now a man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.

2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair, and it was her brother Lazarus who was sick.

3So the sisters sent a message to him: “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4When Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

5Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus.

6So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed two more days in the place where he was.

7Then after that, he said to the disciples, “Let’s go to Judea again.”

8“Rabbi,” the disciples told him, “just now the Jews tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?”

9“Aren’t there twelve hours in a day?” Jesus answered. “If anyone walks during the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

10But if anyone walks during the night, he does stumble, because the light is not in him.”

11He said this, and then he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I’m on my way to wake him up.”

12Then the disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will get well.”

13Jesus, however, was speaking about his death, but they thought he was speaking about natural sleep.

14So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus has died.

15I’m glad for you that I wasn’t there so that you may believe. But let’s go to him.”

16Then Thomas (called “Twin” ) said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go too so that we may die with him.”

Clearly, there is a crisis. Lazarus, a much-loved friend Jesus loves, has died. Jesus wants to go back to the place where he was buried, but His disciples know that going back is dangerous.

The Jews in Judea, confused about who Jesus was and convinced He posed a threat he posed to their positions in leadership, had already tried to murder Jesus last time He was there. Not wanting to be killed, the disciples asked, "Um, Jesus . . . don't you remember why we don't hang out in Judea?"

Of course, Jesus knew Judea wasn't safe. He's God — nothing slips His mind. But He had more important things to worry about than physical safety. He was worried about His friends.

Mary and Martha (remember them?) and the rest of Jesus' friends were facing a loss and Jesus wanted them to be together. He wanted to show His friends how things go when they stick together.

One of Jesus' disciples, Thomas, said, "Let's go! If we die, we will die together." I don't necessarily recommend following your friends to certain death, but Jesus and Thomas show us something really important about friendship in this story: when you stick together, you feel less alone.

And, hey — if Jesus did this for His disciples, don't you think He'd do it for you too? If Jesus shows us that He'll never leave His friends all alone, don't you think the same is true for you?

There are a lot of moments in life that can make us feel isolated and alone, but we don't have to stay that way. When we're afraid, or grieving, or alone, Jesus gives us Himself, and God gives us each other.

GODLY FRIENDSHIPS NEVER LEAVE YOU ALL ALONE

GODLY FRIENDSHIPS NEVER LEAVE YOU ALL ALONE

No matter who you are or where you come from, there are going to be times that are lonely. There will be times when you (like Jesus did) need a few more people to gather around you.

Your story probably won't end with you raising someone from the dead, but when we stick together, other miraculous things could happen.

  • Your hope could grow.

  • Your needs might be met.

  • Someone could pray for you when you don't have the words.

  • Someone might simply sit with you in your hurt or pain.

    When life feels lonely, it's easy to believe the lie that you're alone, unsupported, and maybe even unworthy of friendship. That's why God wants to give us a lifeline of community.

    When you feel alone, godly friendships remind you that you belong to a community of people who love you, who are fighting for you, and who are ready to die with you if necessary.

    Wouldn't it be incredible to know that you have friendships like that? People who'll never leave you all alone? If you're not sure you have friends like that in your life right now, here's what I want you to do.

    First, get alone with Jesus. He is offering the same friendship to you that He offered to Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and His disciples. He came to earth to live, die, and live again for you. He has invited you into His family. Let Him be your first lifeline of love and friendship.

    Second, tell someone you feel alone. Let them know you're struggling, or that you want deeper friendships, or that you feel alone, or that you could really use a lifeline right now.

    And if you don't feel alone right now — if you have a great group of friends — I hope you'll look around this room and ask, "Who can I be Jesus to? Who can I run to when they're feeling alone?"

    Remember, Godly friendships never leave us all alone. Let's stick together. We need each other.