There’s a saying, “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” The meaning of this adage is that if you have a friend who is there when you need them, that person is a true friend. But I’m afraid some people get the meaning entirely wrong. You know them – they are friends who are only around when they are in need. They think the saying is supposed to be, “a friend to thee but only in need.” Sure, they might mean well. Don’t they? Sure they get busy and forget to call, come by or even remember we exist. And we can always count on seeing them when a crisis arises, a need presents itself they know we can help with. We are the first person they call when these things happen.
And while you may think I’m just rambling on about interpersonal relationship drama, I’m really thinking about our life as Christians. We see people flock to God when they face problems, when marriages falter, when sickness ravages and when finances fail. But we also tend to follow the same path of the Israelites in that we forget God when we find ourselves blessed, restored, healed and prosperous. God knew that we are often fickle and through Moses, He reminded His people to be on guard against forgetting about Him when they came into times of goodness and plenty. “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deut. 6:10-12)
Just like we don’t want to be taken for granted by friends who only show up when they are in crisis, who only remember us when it’s convenient or who once they’ve gotten what they need from us, toss us aside – God doesn’t want to be forgotten. He doesn’t want to be used and then discarded. To paraphrase Corrie Ten Boom, God shouldn’t be our spare tire, He should be the steering wheel of our lives – the very center at all times, not the afterthought in good times.
And so, if you have been guilty of “abandoning your first love,” like the Ephesian Church – don’t despair. God is patient, full of grace and He wants to have a day-to-day relationship with you. He wants you to serve Him in the good and the bad, to join with His people in worship and service during every season of your life. And just like a true friend, He’s waiting right where you left Him, all you need to is make the first step because He promises if you “draw near to God, He will draw near to you.”