God is our friend. That’s what they say. When we talk about having a relationship with God, we reference a friendship, we talk about spending time with God as if we were having coffee with a friend, as if he is someone we would call to go to the mall with.
While I do believe 100% that God is our friend, somehow this reference just seems so lacking to me. God is my friend….what does that even mean? As I think about it, I don’t really want God to be my friend, I want him to be God!
Stay with me here, cuz I know some of you are going what in the heck is she talking about. And nope, I’m not high.
See, I hear people say that we sort of see God as a father figure, and that if your earthly father wasn’t perfect, as none of them are, it has a way of infecting the way we view God. It somehow correlates. Well, I think the same thing begins to happen when we denote God to the status of “friend”. We try to see him that way, but our earthly view of friendship is not only soooo beneath the reality of a relationship with God, but I think it makes it difficult to really trust God.
How many of you trust your friends completely? How many of you have been hurt by friends, even if it was unintentional. How many of you don’t have any friends at all? How many of us have hurt our friends, intentional or not? How many bridges have we burned, and after the smoke clears, we know we can never rekindle that friendship again? While some of us are lucky enough to have some really amazing friends who are godly and encouraging, and who love us unconditionally, most of find that friends come and go, and that very few people care enough about us to really stick by our side through thick and thin. Most of us can recall at least one instance where we poured out our soul to a friend, someone we trusted, and they used it against us in a way that has left a huge unhealing scar on our hearts. Some of us have been that friend. Some of us have had this happen many times over, and some us have given up on friendship completely.
Most of my friendships are distant, most do not last, and especially in the last few years, I keep most of them, well all of them, superficial. It’s easy to put the same set of walls up toward a “friendship’ with Christ as I would put on my earthly friendships. I think this mentality in me has caused me to keep God at arms length, sort of keeping him at a healthy distance, and I’m guessing that if you view God the same way you view your friends, you might do the same thing.
Maybe we’ve been looking at our relationship with God all wrong.
Instead of a relationship or a friendship, I like to think of of it as a journey, or an adventure with God. You build something special when you’re on an adventure with someone, something deeper and more intimate than your typical friendship. Similar to how you might see the bare, raw, true person in the face of death, I believe that when we step out of the lies in this world and into the truth, it exposes a raw part of our soul that allows us to see Christ differently than a friend. We can see him as the One who overcame death, our death. Our Savior. Once you see that, and really feel that, it changes the relationship.
God is our friend, make no mistake. But his friendship means so much more than we can comprehend. He isn’t someone to go to the gym with, he doesn’t just give us superficial advice so that we can move on and be our happy-go-lucky self again. He gave his life for us. In return, we take up our cross and lay down ours for him everyday. (Well, some of us do) And that exchange, that sacrificial love, that is what separates our bond with him from any other.
Yes, God wants to hear every detail of our lives. Yes, he wants to be at the forefront of our minds as we interact with the world throughout the day. He loves us, and as our friend, he desperately wants to be there for us in every way. He is the only one who loves us unconditionally the way a true friend should. I would just challenge you to see that God’s friendship is something else entirely. It is a presence. It penetrates all of our walls. It sees through all of our shortcomings. It knows all of our failures. It is merciful. It is powerful. It is beautiful. It is LOVE.
When you feel afraid to trust God, remember that he is not your friend, not the way you know friendship. He is love. Raw, sacrificial love. And your journey with him is something that friendship can’t even compare to.
If you’re having trouble trusting God as you make decisions in your life, check out my post, When Making Decisions Is Scary.