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Shadows of Him

I was lying in bed the other morning. Thoughts racing, scenarios changing through a certain set of circumstances. I was overwhelmed with what was going on and had no idea what I should do. So of course, I took it to the one I always take my issues to when I need an answer — my best friend, Erika.

Erika passed away in February 2017, but I still find myself talking to her, asking for her advice, seeking answers to life questions, like I always did when she walked this earth. And the beauty is that I can still hear her voice. I know exactly what she would say to me in each situation, each struggle.

But this morning was different. This morning, as I cried out to my friend, I heard another still, small voice. I heard the Holy Spirit. And as I was asking Erika what to do about my problem, in His sweet and loving way, He responded, “Gabbi, why don’t you ask Me?”

Hmm… great question, Jesus. Why don’t I ask You? Why is it that You weren’t my go-to, my first thought, the One I turned to before anyone else? As I began to question myself on this, I soon realized why. I quickly began to explain to Jesus that the reason I go to my friend first rather than Him is because Erika was always there for me when I needed her. She was fiercely loyal and loving. She always had my back. She always protected me. She always sought to understand things from my perspective. She never judged me, never condemned me, and always sought to help me. “So see, that’s why Jesus.”

I think we all can do this from time to time. Maybe you, too, have someone that you always turn to in a time of need. It may not be a friend who passed away, but perhaps it’s a friend that you call up when things don’t go your way. Maybe it’s your spouse or significant other that you lean on. Or maybe it’s a parent, a grandparent, an employer, a teacher. And having those people in our lives is wonderful. It’s a gift from our heavenly Father. But something we have to continually keep in mind is that those people, those friends and loved ones we turn to, they are an extension of Him.

Their love for us is merely a shadow of His.

A glimpse of how He feels and is towards me… towards you, friend. I always knew that “loving others as He loved us” was something I should do. But it never occurred to me that this is exactly what Erika was doing to me. I was on the receiving end of this Scripture and had no idea. The way she loved me was how Jesus loved me. The way she had my back and wanted the best for me, is how Jesus does for me. The way she never judged or condemned me, always listened first, is how Jesus responds to me. This was so simple and obvious, yet it had eluded me for years.

Turns out, even though my best friend is gone from this earth, I have a friend Who is closer than the breath that I breathe. I have a friend Who always protects, is always patient, always shows me kindness, always understands, never takes offense, and never says “I told you so”. His name is Jesus, and He would love for me to turn to Him first when I am in need, because He knows me best, loves me most, and gives the absolute best advice (I mean, come on, He is the Author of wisdom).

We have a Savior who loves us without conditions and is always ready and waiting for us to turn to Him.

And friend, the same is true for you. It is a great thing that we have people whom we can call on, extensions of Him and His love. But remember, they are not the only ones we have. We have a Savior who loves us without conditions and is always ready and waiting for us to turn to Him. So my prayer for you, and all of us, today is “that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).


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