What a friend we have in Jesus – who always listens

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What a friend we have in Jesus – who always listens

As we continue our Lenten journey of prayer we must remember that there is only one friend who is always available and is never tired of listening to us, says Fr Alvan Ibeh in his latest Voice of Hope series.

Among the three things emphasised by the church during Lent (prayer, fasting and almsgiving), prayer seems to be the most common. We may not fast or give alms every day, but for most of us, prayer is something we do every day.

Prayer for every active Christian is an attitude. Just as we would want to always communicate with our loved ones, we should also constantly communicate with our first love, God our father, ‘We love because He first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). 

This communication is called prayer. God is always pleased to hear from us, even in our busy schedules. You can imagine what happens when you are in love with someone; you want to hear from the person every minute, if possible. But sometimes, this may not be possible because the person may be too busy and unavailable when we need to hear from them.

But one thing I know about our friend Jesus is this, ‘He is always available’. With Him, there is no network failure. There is never any time you will reach out to Him, and He will tell you that He is tired. Please call back. You may not want to disturb your earthly friend at night when they are asleep, even though you may be woken up in the middle of the night by a problem, and all you want at that moment is to talk to your loved one and get some comfort.

The person may be too tired to wake up and will ask you to wait till daybreak. They may be one of those that switch off their phone before sleeping or have it put in silence, so even if you call, you won’t be able to reach them. You can imagine how it feels when you desperately need to talk to someone, but practically no one is available.

We may have a lot of friends, but there will be a time when none of them will be available to answer us or come to our help in time of need. There is only one friend who is always available. He is a friend who is never tired of listening to us; instead, we are the ones who get tired of talking to Him. He is a friend who neither sleeps nor slumbers, ‘He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep’ (Psalm 121:4). He is a friend that can never disappoint: ‘whoever believes in Him (whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him) will not be disappointed (in his expectations)’ (Romans 10:11, Amplified version). He is a friend who does not change: ‘God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.

Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil? (Numbers 29:19), ‘He is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8), and in Malachi 3:6, He says to us, ‘For I am the Lord, I change not’. Our friends can abandon or betray us, especially when things become too bad for us. I remember someone who told me some time ago that the worst aspect of her sickness was that all her friends had left her.

A lot of us, I believe, might have seen ourselves in similar situations or, if not yet, will one day. But the good news is that we have a friend who can never leave or forsake us, no matter the situation. In Deuteronomy 31:6, He says to us, ‘be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord thy God, He it is that does go with you, He will not leave nor forsake you’. He is a friend that never fails, and the scripture affirms this time and time again. In times of desperation and grief, we must remember that we may not be seeing God’s good and gracious purpose from our current vantage point.

Above all, He is forever a faithful friend, and His faithfulness is one of His richest characteristics, attributes and promises to His children. Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us, ‘He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

As we continue our Lenten Journey, we should reflect on our friendship with Jesus and the price He paid for our sins with His life. What indeed a great friend we have in Jesus. Is He your best friend? Till the next edition, remain blessed.