Kids are taught in Sunday School that Jesus is their friend. He wants to be your friend. He can be your friend. You need Jesus to be your friend.
Jesus is our friend, in the best possible way ever.
John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” And John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you.”
The problem comes with our definition and connotation of friend.
- Friend: noun
- a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
- a person who gives assistance; patron, supporter
- a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
Jesus as friend; it’s awesome because you can share everything with God, just like a true friend. You can share your dreams and cry your heart out and he’s there. But what happens when we only view God as friend?
Friends can let us down. Friends can disappoint us. And friendships don’t always last. When we have a friend that we are upset with we may give them the cold shoulder or silent treatment. We may even talk bad about them. We might conclude they are not worth keeping as a friend. Because let’s face it, sometimes that’s the best thing you can do for yourself and a one sided friendship.
But Jesus is more than a friend. He is the perfect friend. However, when we view our relationship with him as friend through our very human eyes, we might feel disappointed and ignored. We might feel like he doesn’t really listen to us or even know us. We might give God the silent treatment. We might give up on God because we feel like he isn’t being a very good friend.
Jesus is God in the flesh. We need to see him as much more than friend. God has many names and they all mean something about his character. It’s wise to learn these so we have context of who God is, otherwise we make God in our own image. God is not irrational nor does he make emotional judgments. God is our Jehovah: Lord, master and relational God. He is Elohim: LORD, Creator God. He is Adonai: Master over all. He is El Elyon: Most High God. He is El Emunah: the Faithful God. He is Immanuel: God with us. These are just a few names of God. If we only think of God as friend we miss out on his Lordship, his faithfulness, his presence with us.
I am in a season right now where it feels like my prayers are not heard. I feel left out. I feel forgotten. But I am reacting in feelings. I need to be rooted in who God is and remind myself of his character lest I give God the cold shoulder and decide he isn’t “being a good friend” and end our relationship. God is faithful, he will never leave me nor forsake me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He is Creator of all. He is my Shepherd and my Peace. He is the true friend that laid down his life for me.
God is also Just. His ways are higher than our ways. God disciplines those he loves as sons and daughters. He allows hardships in our lives for many different reasons. Paul had a thorn in his flesh to keep him from becoming proud. Moses was disciplined and not allowed in the Promised Land. David, a man after God’s own heart, had to fight for his life against Saul for 15 years before becoming the rightful King.
I don’t know why my prayers seem to be going unanswered. In my emotions I am frustrated. In my mind I know that I don’t always get to see why God might seem silent. He doesn’t always explain himself. He is God and I am not. Sometimes that is the only answer we get. I have to get over myself and keep trusting him. The more I read the Bible, the more of God I see objectively apart from my situation. I know that “all things work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 But we also need to remember that “good” in this context is spiritual, not earthly. God is listening and He is at work in my life, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Feelings are fleeting and fickle. God is steady and unchanging. When I am tempted to think less of him, that’s my own selfish and idolatrous thoughts. This is a good reminder for me to get back to reading His Word and internalizing it so I don’t doubt his love for me and have absolute trust in his care.