When Our Hearts Need Someone to Count On
I am nine, sitting cross-legged on an elementary-school gym floor that smells vaguely like rubber soles and ketchup. My friends and I are lined up in a row waiting to go to recess or art class or the library. We’re likely wearing scrunchies in our side ponytails and neon shorts; children of the eighties. The girls nearest me lean in, grinning, and say, “We want to tell you something. We’re best friends.” I look back and forth between the two of them, confused, because just yesterday the one with the strawberry hair told me that I would always be her best friend.
I ride my bike home alone that day, forlorn, and sit at the kitchen table with a cookie in my hand and my mama across from me.These things happen, she explains gently. I nod, feeling very grown-up and wise, even in my disappointment. I will think of this again when my crush flirts with me one day and holds the hand of a long-legged athlete the next. I will feel it when the conversation with the editor at the conference seems to go so well and then the rejection letter comes in the mail. I will revisit it when the whirling crowd online is landing on my site today and taking off to another one the next like a flock of spring sparrows.
It is the nature of humans to be fickle. We put rings on each other’s fingers and then signatures on divorce papers. We are employee of the month and then find ourselves on the lay-off list. We are dear friends and then time and space and life make us drift until we’re looking back at old photos and thinking, I haven’t seen her in a while. Yet we keep searching, hoping, longing for that person who will stay. The constant who will never go away.
In these moments, it comforts me to know “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He isn’t going to pick someone else on the playground. He isn’t going to bring us roses and then forget to call the next day. He won’t recruit us for the pet project and then neglect to invite us to the celebration party. He won’t use us up and throw us out, pull us close and then push us away, whisper in our ear and then lose our phone number. Because His love for us isn’t based on our charm; it’s rooted in His character. It doesn’t come from His emotions but instead from an eternal commitment. It isn’t dependent on what we do for Him, but what He’s already done for us.
It gets even better: Jesus also tells us,“I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5). Who He is doesn’t change, yet He moves and pursues in endlessly creative ways. It’s what our hearts long for, what we’re really looking for when we exchange the friendship bracelets or say the vows or sit down at the desk in a new office for the first time. We want to know we can trust, completely, the one with whom we have aligned ourselves. And yet we also want to know that doing so will lead to life and growth and adventure. We want stability and excitement, consistency and change, familiarity and novelty.
When we try to demand all of this from a human being, we always end up disappointed. But the answer isn’t to shut down our hearts, to tell ourselves we’re being unrealistic or irrational. Instead, it’s to take those desires to the One who put them there in the first place, the only One who can truly fulfill them. Jesus “is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) yet He also says.“I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:5). Both are what we need. Both are eternally true.
Originally written and published by Holley Gerth. Used with permission.