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!
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.
See the areas mentioned in the story of David’s lament over Saul and Jonathan. Select 2 Samuel for the Book, and 1 for the chapter.
The word lament comes from the Latin lamentari, from lamenta (plural) which means ‘weeping, wailing.’ There is a whole book in the Bible called Lamentations where great grief is expressed over the fall of Jerusalem in 587/6 B.C. because of her sin.
Which of the following strategies have you used to cope when separation or loss of a friend has happened?
- Cried for days
- Talked to my parents
- Got angry and raged on somebody else
- Listened to loud, clashing music
- Listened to sad music
- Talked to my other friends
- Sucked it up and kept going with my life
- Wrote in my journal
- Talked with a youth worker (like Club Beyond leader or youth services)
- Talked to God about what I was feeling
- Made plans to get back together
- Texted or Facebooked them within 24 hours
- Talked to a chaplain or counselor
Take a shot at writing your own story of losing or being separated from a friend. Include your thoughts, feelings, motives, etc. Think of other military brats as your target audience when you write.
Jude 1:1-25 - Jude reaches out to friends in Christ in the various churches by writing and keeping connected.
2 Corinthians 4:9 – The apostle Paul writes that, even when distant from friends, Christ is always near as a friend.
Romans 16:1-2 - Paul introduces Phoebe as she travels to Rome and asks believers there to welcome her as a friend.
Colossians 4:7-9 – With joy, Paul sends his friends back to other friends to cheer them up.
Proverbs 18:24 – sometimes friendships end, and that’s OK because of other friends.
Acts 24:22-23 – Paul’s friends are allowed to take care of him after he had been taken away to prison
This YouTube clip is from Lord of the Rings when the Frodo’s band of brothers watch their inspiring friend, Gandalf, die a cruel death after protecting them. Listen for the grief-stricken cry from Frodo and the lamenting song as they all contemplate their loss when they exit the cave onto the rocks. Their mournful faces tell the pain, a pain, which you, too, may have entered into for your own loss of a friend!
Have you ever had to end a friendship? This is also a type of loss. Describe the events that led up to ending your friendship with someone. What advice would you give someone who was in a similar situation?
Can you come up with advice from the Bible that may be the same or different?