3rd July 2011
A story I heard recently describes an act of amazing bravery and friendship. An US army platoon was ambushed behind enemy lines. The lieutenant told his men to fall back to a collection point where a helicopter was waiting for them. They incurred many fatalities as they retreated to the rendezvous point.
Once in the helicopter, with bullets flying around them, a soldier realized his friend was not present. He said, “Give me one minute to fetch my buddy”. The captain ordered him to stay put, but disobeying the captain’s orders, he chucked his pack, and ran back into the hail of bullets.
Despite getting shot a few times he found his buddy still alive, picked him up, and ran back to the helicopter. The rescued soldier said afterwards, “I knew you would come back for me”!
As humans, we are wired to appreciate great acts of love among friends.
That is what the message of Jesus Christ’s love for humankind is!
Have you ever woken up one day and a friendship that you thought was secure was suddenly gone? This may have caused you to doubt yourself, and to question everything in your life. This has happened to me at various times in my life. What is the purpose of those difficult moments? I can testify that if we trust God, in every instance, times of difficulty produce positive change.
Though we cannot predict how times of difficulty will affect those around us, we can decide how we respond. David spent a several years in a cave with 600 faithful men, and yet, all it took was one instance, and one bad decision, and they were ready to stone him to death. If anyone had good reason to be angry, it was David, but his response is a lesson for us all today. David did not defend himself. He did not make excuses. He did not dig his heels in. He did not accuse his men, but went before God and “encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30). God saw his attitude, and vindicated him by giving him success!
To keep up our friendships, we may each have to respond similarly. It is worth it. And then, when God does use someone we have criticized to do us a good turn, we would avoid needless embarrassment. I had an opportunity to learn this in my early twenties when a man I had criticized saved my life. One should not let our love for a friend, fade, even if we feel rejected . Love will win in the end, even if out of respect for the feelings of others, we have to keep it under wraps. Solomon knew this when he wrote,
“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you: bind them around your neck; write them on the tablets of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3-4)