Something that I have often done in life is to forget that our God who holds the universe in His hands is a person. That means that He has a personality. He has preferences, and character traits that are unique to Him and no one else. We will never truly know the truth of this unless we are willing to take the time to get to know Him.
I think about the Israelite s who left Egypt. The 1st night as they were caught between the Nile and the Egyptian army there was a pillar of fire that cast light to them and kept the Egyptians in deep darkness. They knew God by seeing His miraculous works and power. They had just seen Pharaoh brought to his knees by many signs and wonders. Oh yes they knew very well that God was real but they did not understand Him to be a person. At Mt. Sinai the opportunity came to meet Him but they chose to have Moses be their mediator and just find out what God’s instructions were and they would perform them. That was all they wanted.
I have often looked back on the people of the day and thought how foolish they were to make such a decision. They received an invitation to come and meet God in person and they chose not to. So now here we are a few thousand years later and where are we with relation to that same God? Well sadly it appears we are anywhere and everywhere. There are millions of people who don’t think He is even real at all but more of man’s imagination to help establish good values in society. Some think that we have a mother earth, not a Father God. Some think that we still need a middle man like a priest to speak to God on our behalf. Many send up prayers imagining them to be put in a lottery drum and hoping their prayer will be the lucky one to be drawn. And there are many other variations of twisted pictures of who He is but there are only a small number of people who take time to get to Him, Truth Himself.
Even as I write this my eyes fill with tears knowing I have not been faithful to do so either. I have had times of real pursuit and then have been distracted or deceived away and then lost my way. It is similar to times when you strike up a new friendship here in our world and you really come to love and appreciate a person. Then something comes up that challenge this new friendship. You have a choice to make. Maybe you discover that they have a different sense of right and wrong that you have and you hold on to your principals and let go of them. Maybe a job transfer comes up and they have to move. Perhaps they are struck with a prolonged illness and you feel the weight of the high maintenance it is to keep the relationship going. Perhaps it’s jealousy where they have other friends but you want them to be your exclusive friend.
If you value relationships in your life then you must make some wise choices in your life. Life is meant to live in relationship with others and is meant to live in a deep personal relationship with God. There are many things that come our way that we really don’t know what we should do. What if you had one friend who did know what you should do and that one friend could always be trusted to give you the truth. Well God is that friend. You will need to choose to trust Him when you think He’s wrong. If we could get it into our hearts firmly just who He is then we can make some really good choices with regards to our relationship with Him. We can choose to love Him, believe Him, trust him, run to Him, share your innermost thoughts with Him, and become like Him. Since the day that Jesus dealt with the separation issue we are all welcome to enter into that place of friendship with Him.
The bible will describe to you many character traits of our God and will reveal the things that He values deeply. You can trust these things but you must explore them alongside Him to have it really penetrate your heart and KNOW Him. Just like when you hang around someone here you discover the strange little quirks that your friends have that people not so close when never know. The quirks are there in sight but you must be interested in that person to notice them. The discovery comes because you are interested in knowing the person. What makes them tick? What brings a smile and what things break their heart?
As a person God is always all the person as we are always us the person. I have seen friends discover a part of God that they really like and they only choose that part of God. It becomes like a kitten looking for it’s mothers breast to feed from. That is all they want from mom at that point is her breast as it supplies the kittens need. There is no question that as people we are needy but to fixate on that one aspect of God is really about satisfying you and is selfish and not embracing the friendship. Like many of our prayers are really like sending our Christmas list to Santa and if Christmas comes ad those things aren’t there then I am quite disappointed as Santa let me down, or in our case God let me down.
God understands our weaknesses thankfully otherwise He would never want us as friends. By sticking with Him though we find that we begin to change into His likeness. We start to discover that there is wisdom in all His choices and that His ways are truly good…..always. What a comfort to know that our friend God is with us always and that He is for us. ( I am not trying to diminish who God is by calling Him our friend as He still is the Creator of all things but He is willing to reach down to us and be our friend ) The bible tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Wow I wish my character was like that. I had a strange encounter one time that revealed God’s heart in this very way.
I was in a home one night and heard of a man who I had known in years past who was quite sick with cancer and his days left on the earth were few. This man served faithfully in a church for many, many years. Now that he was in this place of illness he had been abandoned by his church friends for some reason. There are many of us fear being in the presence of someone who will be passing on from this world to the next. I was really upset about hearing that he was sick and now alone at a time when he could use some friendship. It seemed so unjust to me. The next day I felt something inside of me nudging for me to do something. My reasoning was that I was not in a place of relationship with him to have anything to say. I wasn’t thinking about “ my friend “ was and cared very much for this man. Well after supper came and I finally decided to call this man. He answered the phone and I told him who I was. I asked him if he remembered me and he said no. ( Just what I feared ) I then said “ remember years ago you were up on the roof of the church trying to remove the ice buildup and this guy showed up to help you?” He said “ yes I do remember that and know who you are now.”( Funny as I type this it just now is occurring to me that we are often remembered by on event in life that stands out to someone. Sometimes we encounter someone only a few times so those times with us tell them who we are. Scary . ) I told him I had heard he was sick and I asked him if I could come up for a visit. He said “ My sisters are here right now but maybe in an hour would be good.” So I got off the phone and wondered what I could bring? What does someone sick with cancer like to eat. I went off to the grocery store and picked up some fruit, and yogurt and ice cream.
I arrived to his modest mobile home and met his sons and wife. I thought this is going to be difficult to chat where we hardly know each other and he must be wondering why I would be coming. God has a way of making things work and we had a great chat and I chatted with his sons a bit. Harold explained to me his health situation which he described as more of a mystery. I was wondering if the news I heard was incorrect. He had no fear at all. He got us a bowl of ice cream and we continued to chat. I knew I had to say what needed to be said. I said “ Harold I am really sorry that everyone has seemingly disappeared on you because I know how you have served and you may wonder why now. I don’t know about anyone else but I wanted you to know that I noticed and you made a difference to me and my life.” He smiled and thanked me as I held back a flood of tears waiting to pour out. I believe God wanted Harold to know his life counted and that God noticed, loved and appreciated him. I have discovered that God is like that. He cares for us infamous people and He really doesn’t abandon us. He may use people like me and you to speak on his behalf but He will come. Two weeks later Harold was dead and I was at the funeral home. The turnout there was good. I felt awkward there as I knew very few of the people or even his family so I just wanted to say goodbye and leave. One of his sons spotted me and come rushing over. He said “ Hi , I want you to know how I appreciate you coming over that night and seeing us. “My dad spoke of your visit every day until he died. ‘ I smiled shook his hand and escaped. Why had this meant so much I wondered? I look back and think how glad I am that I responded to His urging. You and I will never know what He has in store unless we respond and just trust that He is doing something good and you as His friend get to be included in something special that He is doing.
You don’t have to have your life together or be sin free to be His friend. He took me as I was and even as I am today, still with issues, still flawed and can be a real pain sometimes but He really is the best friend you could ever want. He is willing to walk life with you regardless of how broken. Find out just what kind of person He is for yourself.
Oct. 31st/ 2012