Monday, January 30, 2017

I Am a Friend of God

As a young girl, I wasn’t in with the “in” crowd when I was in school. I was by no means one of those popular girls that hung out with those cool cheerleaders and the hunky football team. I wasn’t even in the “nerd” crowd because I sure wasn’t a really smart kid either. I was a shy, average grade student who went to school, did average work, came home and played with my friend next door.

That sounds pitiful, doesn't it? But don’t feel sorry for me because it was in those years that my friendship with God began and grew and that friendship sustained and carried me through some of the toughest times as a little girl AND as a big girl. You see, my Dad was very ill from a brain tumor and after the surgery to remove it, he lived, but became more like a sibling to me than my Daddy. I watched my Mom be so brave and undaunted in her care for him and me. Mom was the best friend I didn’t have in girl friends, because she modeled what it is to be strong, loving, supportive, AND model her friendship with God. She’d talk to Him all the time. She’d sing and praise Him in the midst of such troubling times with my Dad’s illness and having to financially provide for us all. I’m so grateful for what she taught me in what it is to trust God and for Him to be her dearest friend.

Today, I am who I am because early on God was my “bestie”. Without a doubt, I know He’s with me and even when I don’t talk to Him, I know it’s okay, because friends don’t have to always be talking to each other. Sometimes, it’s just being in each other’s presence, so I practice His presence. You see, my FRIEND, is sitting right beside me as I type this post. I know it. I even sense Him smiling with His arm around me as I type “I am a friend of God.”

I’ve come to realize my peace, joy, courage and comfort come from the friendship I have with Him. Oh, I’m right in the thick of life just like others are, and it may look like I live unrealistically, but I assure you, this is the way to live above the fray that comes with “the thick of things". As important as it is to have close friendships, I assure you there is nothing to compare to having God as best friend.

Yesterday, I took a long walk and I started singing “I am a friend of God” (a great Israel Houghton song), and I started thinking about it’s one thing for God to be MY friend, but I want to be HIS friend. Unlike my childhood, I have lots of friends today, but really only a couple of “besties”, and I’m not sure what I would do without them. I know they are there for me any time.

And, as much as I love my girl friends, there is nothing to compare with God calling me His friend – and better yet, I like to think I’m one of His “besties”. After all, I’ve known Him most all my life – since I was 8 years old at a summer church camp, when I invited Him into my heart and asked Him to be my best friend. And, better than the girls in the “in” crowd, or my Mom, or even my “bestie” girl friends today, He’s perfect and I don’t have to look for Him. He’s always there when I need Him. He'll listen to anything I want to talk about, He holds my heart in his hand when life's too painful, and He whispers comfort to me when I'm afraid. James 4:8 says "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." The more I want to cozy up to Him, the more He cozies up to me! Thank you, Lord!

And I have to remember that my friends, even my besties, and I aren't God. We can only do our best to be like Him. He's my everything -- my Savior, my Helper, my Healer, my Shield, my Protector, my Father -- my Everything. And I like to think that I'm His best friend because, after all, He loved me so much that He gave His life for me. How's that for a "bestie"? He even encourages me to sit down and chat with Him, dump my worries and cares into His arms, to allow Him to carry my burdens and to remember all that He's done for me. Then, He gives me a little nudge and says, "Now, go love others, like you love Me!"

John 15:15 " I don’t call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. But I’ve called you friends because I’ve made known to you everything that I’ve heard from my Father."