I was reminded this week of a conversation I had with Sara when she was in pre-school. She had done something wrong, I had corrected her, and she was weeping mightily. Trying to console her, I said, “No one loves you more than Mommy and Daddy.” She stepped back and put defiant hands on hips. “Nuh uh,” she responded. I braced myself for an explanation of how dearly her grandparents loved her. She leaned in to make her point: “God and Jesus love me more.”

I could not disagree. And I often wish I could remember, in moments of stress, trial, anger, or despair, that simple and beautiful truth: God and Jesus love me more – certainly more than abusive bosses and false friends, more even than true friends and caring mentors. It’s easy in difficult times to feel alone, to feel that our battles are unwinnable because no one is on our side. But once we have entrusted our hearts and souls to the Lord, we have eternal support. He is always with us, loving us more gently and defending us more fiercely than any human could ever attempt.

And yet we continue to put our faith in the works of men. We lean on frail friends. We hang our self-worth on the opinions of human beings as flawed as we are. We allow the ephemeral pressures of the world push us off God’s eternal path. We allow evil in all its forms to pull us away from the love of Christ.

In my high school youth group, we sang Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” (It was a hit then. Please don’t do the math.), thinking of Jesus rather than our earthly friends: “All you’ve got to do is call/Lord, I’ll be there/You’ve got a friend…”

We have no truer friend than Jesus. We receive no purer love than the Lord’s. Let us turn from the false promises of the world and toward the omnipotent promise of God’s grace. Let us keep our hearts and minds open to His truth, that we might be empowered to carry His truth and His love into the world, to advance His Kingdom and minister to all.

“Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms he'll take and shield you,
You will find a solace there.”
Joseph M. Scriven, 1855