Friend of God

My brother Rick and I went down to southern Ohio for a high school alumni banquet on May 8th. We stayed with our Dad, and our sister Laurie, at their house in the same town we grew up in before our entire family moved away in 1975. After many life choices that took each of us our separate ways through out the last 35 years, all but my brother Tim have made our way back to “the Motherland” as Tim lovingly refers to the state we grew up in.

Rick wanted to visit some old friends that neither of us had seen since we moved away so long ago. We spent several hours at the home of one friend, Rick E and his mother Eva. We have fond memories of this family. Eva worked in the school cafeteria for many, many years, and was mother to all the kids she fed. Occasionally she added extra servings for those she knew didn’t eat any other time except for the school lunch. She would also discipline some of the kids as if they were her own, scolding and giving an occasional whack on the rear end if needed. Mind you that was back in the day when discipline wasn’t illegal. I think everyone understood it was her way of mothering and loved her more for it. Eva was always ready to give a hug to anyone who asked and even many who didn’t, knowing that some of “her kids” never got hugs at home.

As we visited, Rick E talked a mile a minute catching us up on years spent apart. He is now in the position of loving kids in his own way as a school bus driver. Times have changed the way he can discipline and love on these kids, but it doesn’t change the way kids need love, and it sounds like Rick E ministers his love to these kids as the opportunities present themselves.

When we left, Rick and I felt like it had just been yesterday since we visited last with Rick E and Eva. I think that’s a sign of a good friendship. Even though it had been many years since we last saw one another, we picked up where we left off and kept on going. Sometimes our relationship with Jesus is that way too. Days, weeks, and sometimes much longer passes without talking to Him. But just like good friends, He doesn’t think about the time missed, He picks up where we left off and keeps on going.

I thank God that He is a better friend to us than we are to Him. When the bible uses the word friend to refer to mans relationship with God, it uses the Greek word “philos” which is the type of friendship, with our limited love and selfishness that we can give. It is defined as “to be friendly to one, an associate, he who associates familiarly with one, a companion.”¹ In contrast, when the word friend is used to describe God’s relationship with man the Greek word " 'ahab" is used. This word is described as “an everlasting, enduring, and unending future with an ancient beginning.”² He has known us since the beginning of time and will love us for an eternity. He is the one that will always be there for us, no matter how long we take to acknowledge Him. He is always ready to talk to us and love us regardless of our shortcomings.

Our friendship with Rick E and his mom is special, holding many good memories and promises that our friendship will continue regardless of distance or time passing. It’s a secure feeling knowing that we will always be welcomed into their home and their hearts no matter how long it is between visits.

We can be secure in our relationship with God too. Knowing that his friendship is everlasting and we cannot do anything to make him not love us. His friendship is enduring, patient and steadfast, meaning He’ll wait for us no matter how long it takes. Why then do we distance ourselves from the only pure friendship we have? I find it hard to fathom that type of friendship without strings attached. We are always trying to “do” things to earn our friends here on earth. We try to look nice, make yummy meals, give favors or great gifts, say kind words… I know you understand where I’m coming from; we all do it in different ways.

But what does it take to create and keep a friendship? It takes time spent together, sharing and trusting. God listens to us and speaks to us. So often when we speak to God, we bombard Him with our needs. “Lord, please do this, heal that person, help me financially, bless me….”, then we say Thank You (I hope), and Amen. End of conversation. I can’t imagine how my husband would feel if I stayed away all day (which it feels like when working full time) then come home, say Hi Hon, I need you to take out the trash, give me some food, loan me $20 bucks and oh yeah, give me your blessings on whatever it is I’m doing. Bye” and then disappear again until the next day, or longer, just to ask for more things to be given to me or done for me again. How long would that marriage last?

We do that very same thing to God and yet He will never leave us. That just makes me want to fall on my face and beg His forgiveness for being so selfish. And do you know what? He will forgive me, because He loves us and wants our friendship. We have to have faith in God and believe what He says about us and to us is true! James 2:23 says “This is what the Scriptures mean by saying, ‘Abraham had faith in God, and God was pleased with him’. That’s how Abraham became God’s friend.” (CEV) Abraham proved his faith was real by believing God’s promises. That means they talked and God made a promise and didn’t break it. It’s kind of hard to call someone a friend if you can’t trust them and Abraham sure did trust God to save his own son from death by his own hands!

I pray and ask God to use me to bring glory to Him and to make me sensitive to His voice so that I can hear when He prompts me. You know how your child calls you, or your husband, or a really good friend and when you hear their voice, you immediately know who it is? That’s because we spend time with them and are familiar with their voice. That’s how we need to be with God too. We need to spend time with Him and be familiar with His voice. We become familiar with His promises and His character by spending time with Him and in His Word. Then when He speaks to us, either through Scriptures or a gentle prompt, we recognize that it is Him speaking to us because what He is saying lines up with Who we have come to know. I want to be a friend of God, don’t you?

1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for philos (Strong's 5384)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 18 May 2010. < strongs="G5384&t=">


2. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for 'ahab (Strong's 157)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 18 May 2010. < strongs="H157&t=">

Comments

  1. Nicely put Sis! Nicely put.

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  2. AnonymousJune 07, 2010

    WOW! Good stuff there! I'm glad you were able to see and spend some time with old friends! We all change throughout time and when you get together years later, you sometimes find out you still have alot in common.
    Love, me

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  3. Wonderful post, Mindy, thanks for commenting on my blog and giving me the link to this. Beautiful. I can certainly relate to the times that I've treated The BEST friend EVER with less attention than I do blogs of people I've never met! And yet, He is always gracious. We need not run all the way too Him - just in His direction, and that''s all it takes. What mercy and grace that we are so unworthy of but are so grateful for.

    I feel like, even though I've only know about you for a short time, that we are kindred spirits. You will never know how encouraging it is to me when you comment on my blog. :)

    I hope you have a great weekend.

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