Monday, October 22, 2012

Friendship with God

Author:  Susan L. Prince

These are just "outloud ponderings" of something I read this morning in Robertson McQuilkin's book, Life in the Spirit.  It may or may not make sense.  I'm formulating some of it while I type.   McQuilkin mentioned that God wants to be our best friend.  He pointed out that "best friends have to know one another and like what they know.  They take every chance to get together and they work hard at doing what the other one likes."  That got me thinking about my relationship with God and if I put as much effort into getting to know Him and doing what He likes as I do in my relationship with my best friends.  

I do a lot of thinking, and just because something like this causes me to ruminate, it doesn't always mean that I conclude the negative.  It doesn't always mean that if I question it in myself, I must be reaching the conclusion that I fall short.  I simply ask myself these honest questions.  I ask them often.  If ever I do discover a deficiency, I hope to be quick to change a practice, a habit, or whatever I need to do to correct the situation.  

That being said, I've been thinking on this question recently.  Does my relationship with God reflect a "best friendship?" I thought about those I am closest to.  I thought about those couple of people I have allowed to know me more intimately than anybody else, about those I trust implicitly.  I thought about the effort I put into those friendships.  I do invest in my friends.  I have always invested deeply into those I believe God put into my life.  I consider my friends a blessing beyond anything I can explain.  I treasure the relationships that I have and care for them the best I know how.  I thank God for my friends on a daily basis and pray for them.  I do arrange things in my life in order that I may have time with my friends.  My friends pour into me, so it only makes sense that I would want to spend time with them.  I pray that God can use me to pour into them as well.  I think when God gives a friendship, it is somehow mutually satisfying and is sustained in a special godly love; we mutually exhort one another and this allows us to strengthen each other in the faith, and also, because there is trust and we understand that Christian love is the basis of all we share, we can speak into one another's life when a rebuke is needed.

Now, as I thought about my investment in my friendships, I started to consider what time and effort I put into my relationship with God, my Father, my Lord, my friend.  I have to admit that I at times recoil at saying, "I am a friend of God...He calls me 'friend.'"  It seems so small, and (I really HATE the I am a Friend of God song, but I digress.)  I live alone, therefore I have less distraction when I am home.  I can go to bed when I want and spend time with the Lord in quiet.  Nobody is here to ask me to get them something or listen to what they need to talk about. Do I take advantage of that?  You bet I do! :)

I spend so much time thanking God for my blessings that if God ever needed encouragement for a job well done, He would do well to get that from me!  I am mindful of the Spirit all day, every day.  Sure, there are moments in which I push Him aside when my worldly self takes over and I become selfish, but I usually come to my senses within minutes, and/or after a short ranting time (lol - to one of my best friends!). I believe that if I share my heart with God, even, and maybe especially, when it is not right, He alone can help me get it right.  He is totally aware of my bad attitude, so it is not like I'm telling Him anything He didn't already know. ;)  This is me spending time with God.  

I'm serious about Sabbath rest.  God commanded it and it was made for man. I do take one day a week, almost without fail, to just rest in His love.  I break from work, I break from tasks, and I just set out to enjoy my time.  It may be spending time with a friend, it may be time at the lake thinking about Him and enjoying creation as I walk through the woods or just sit and ponder, it may be going and doing something I enjoy (movies, carpool, drinking coffee at the Frog or Sbux, etc.), and possibly spending time in His Word...but, God gave me the day!  Of course I want to embrace it!  I have liberty in Him and try to enjoy it to its fullest!  Like a friend who gives me a gift, I open it up and enjoy it. :)

There is no awkward silence with a friend, instead, it is often comforting.  There is no awkward silence with God.

Here's something kind of whacked...I absolutely LOVE getting to know my friends.  I LOVE going through old pictures, scrapbooks, asking about their past and if I am so blessed, visiting the places that mean so much to them.  I learn about their passions seeing what they spend their time and effort doing.  With God, I have thousands of years of history to read about to learn about Him! I LOVE His Word and seeing all that He has done and learning about His passion for His people!  I've concluded that in many ways, I enjoy a special friendship with God.  

I do put the time and effort into knowing Him as much as I can. This is not to say that I am perfect about making the time, or saying and doing the right things, as either of my closest friends would attest to, but it is a friendship nonetheless.  I am an imperfect friend with a perfect God.  It may be onesided at times, but that is what makes friendship work.  Forgiveness, mercy, grace and love exists in my relationship with God, and He makes that evident to me on a daily basis.  Why the heck would I not want to be friends with Him? 


Author: Susan L. Prince

Been thinking about betrayal, the ultimate breakdown of trust.  How is it that after the disciples, and yes, all of them betrayed him at one point, especially as He went to suffering and death, was Jesus able to commission them to go out and make disciples.  How was he able to trust them with such a large responsibility after how they had just all failed Him?

Judas we all know died the ultimate betrayer.  He killed himself.  What if he had repented instead? 

Peter repented and Jesus restored him.  He restored all of the disciples.

Jesus, who knows the hearts of men, understood that his friends had weaknesses and His love covered over those weaknesses.  He was able to send them out to represent Himself and trust their repentance. Jesus knew the hearts of the men He surrounded Himself with, and therefore He was able to trust them, despite their failings.  The relationships could be restored. 

It doesn't seem so easy for humans.  Jesus, afterall, created humans, so He knows our hearts.  I can't know the hearts of men, or can I?  What if I took the time to really get to know somebody.  What if during conversation over coffee, I looked into the eyes of the person sitting across from me.  What if I asked deep, personal and intimate questions?  What if I didn't assume I knew somebody well, but really dug into their lives by spending time with them, by listening to them without offering advice or commiserating, but just listened.  I think after some time, I might *know* that person.  At least I would know them better.  

But, what if that person betrayed me?  Would I question myself?  Would I question the heart of that person?  

I have been hurt by people.  I am not easily offended, so it is not easy to do, but it is possible.  Thing is, I really try to know the hearts of the people I surround myself with.  I could never *know,* really KNOW, the hearts of all of the people in my life, but those that I make time to *know,* I trust.  

I have been hurt by people I have trusted, but love really does cover over a multitude of sin.  It can only really happen if I know the heart of a person.  If I know the heart of that person is bent on repentance and reconciliation, and I see behaviors that line up with that, trust can flourish again.  In fact, in some situations, the trust never waivers.  

It's an odd thing, this Christian life.  

God, help me to never betray my friends.

Help me to never betray You.