It was one of those nights that flashes back in our memory for years, like treasured pictures in a mental scrapbook. It was the early 1990s and the Soviet Union was beginning to break up. Estonia and Latvia had been under Soviet domination for years, with Christians often being persecuted, or marginalized, even imprisoned and beaten. Our daughter was one of a team of college students, privileged to be one of the first Christian teams to be able to freely present Christ in Estonia and Latvia. They had just held some unforgettable meetings with believers in Riga, the capital of Latvia, and they had heard some of the stories of the price some of those dear saints had paid for their loyalty to Jesus. They’d been through so much.
The team members bade their new friends an emotional farewell at church and they headed for the train station, where they eventually boarded the midnight train. But as they boarded, the railway platform was suddenly alive with the faces and the voices of the Latvian Christians they had left behind they thought they’d said goodbye to. They showed up en masse at the station at midnight for one last goodbye and a special send off. As our daughter settled into her seat on the train, she could hear the voices of those people joining together in a melody that just echoed through the station. She didn’t recognize the words – they were in Latvian, of course – but she sure recognized the song. As the train slowly began to pull out of the station, these people who had endured so much, were singing an old song that, at least for one college student, would never be the same again “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.” These people would know that, wouldn’t they?
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “One Velcro Friend.”
That’s what those people had learned through those years of injustice, and uncertainty, and hardship. They learned that Jesus is the “Velcro friend” who sticks with you through it all. He wants to be that friend for you. People can fire you, abuse you, criticize you, divorce you, disappoint you, abandon you, but millions of us have found what those Latvian followers of Christ found, that Jesus is life’s one and only “through it all” person – that intimacy is born from difficulty.
When the Apostle Paul said his passionate life goal was to “know Christ,” he went on to say that involved knowing “the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). See, you never really know Jesus until you really need Jesus. And when you really, really need Him, He’s really, really there.
The Son of God, the King of all kings, laid out the amazing relationship He wants to have with us as He was talking to His disciples just before His long dark night of the cross and the long dark stretch that would follow for His disciples. In John 15, beginning with verse 15, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants…I have called you friends.” If you have that love relationship with Jesus, there’s nothing the two of you can’t handle, because as the Bible says, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
And if you don’t have that love relationship with Him, great news! It could start today if you’ll give your life to this One who loves you so deeply He paid for your sins with His life. Our sins are serious business, and they carry a death penalty which Jesus paid for you. I don’t know if you’ve had a lot of relationships, and you hoped each one would be the ultimate harbor for your heart, and it wasn’t. Well, Jesus is life’s one safe harbor, and you need to be safe in His love.
You don’t need one more day without Him. Would you tell Him today, “Jesus, I’m Yours.” I would love to help you get this settled once and for all. And that’s why our website is there. I hope you’ll go there. It’s ANewStory.com.
“What a friend we have in Jesus.” That’s more than a song. It’s a life you can have. What a friend I have in Jesus!