This is from a Kairos talk called “Friendship with God”. I want to start by telling you a Bible verse. It’s Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” That’s my verse. That’s the verse I live by every day. Trusting in God is the focus of my life. The part about not leaning on your own understanding is harder, since I’m always trying to figure out why stuff happens; and a lot of times, God doesn’t tell me the why. So I just have to trust. Remember, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, . . . and He will direct your path.”
What is a friend? Is it somebody who agrees with me all the time and takes my side on every issue? Not necessarily. In fact they may disagree, if they see me doing or saying something which might hurt me. Friendship is about trust. Trust is progressive. It grows through experience. When you find someone you can trust, you want to spend time with them; to figure out ways to agree with them most of the time; to do what they suggest, sometimes even when it seems crazy. When you really get to trusting them, you really don’t lean on your own understanding. You sorta accept them and what they say at face value, without really thinking about it.
Trust changes your whole attitude about the other person and about your relationship with them. Instead of being a little leary of them, a little afraid, a little suspicious of their motives, a little worried about their “real” nature; when you really start to trust someone you open up, you share your real self with them and they share their real self with you.
There is GOOD NEWS! God created us for companionship and to live in community with Him and other people. God is love. He created us to love and be loved. God is not the enemy. God is not trying to catch us doing something wrong. God doesn’t want us separated from Him; He wants us to be part of His body. God does not manipulate us into separation from Himself so that He can punish us. A friend is someone who wants the very best for your life; someone who is willing to give some of Himself to help you move toward your best; someone who gives you space when you need it, and can let you make your own decisions – even your own mistakes; someone who doesn’t run away when you make a mess of everything and still accepts you as a friend. Where do you find a friend like that?
About 25 years ago I was living in Eastland, Texas, fat, dumb and happy, working in the oil business, doing pretty good, when I found out my wife was having an affair. At the time I had three kids, two sons in high school, and a daughter who was 13. My son was telling me this was going on, and I was denying it, refusing to believe it. When I finally admitted it to myself, I took a job on the road, so I’d have time to sort things out. I was doing a lot of praying. I remember thinking, “Lord, why is this happening? You’re not supposed to let stuff like this happen.” I remember being in San Antonio one weekend and going to church, hoping to get a message from God about why my life was so bad. I even went down at the altar call for prayer. I was crying as I told the man about my troubles, and he really didn’t have a good answer for me. But we agreed that God was taking care of it anyway, even though I didn’t know how. I didn’t know then, but I know now, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” My own understanding is weak, but God is still my Friend.
As Paul Harvey says, “This is the rest of the story.” I moved to Houston, and my wife promptly moved to Dallas. We eventually got a divorce. All the time I’m saying, “Believers in Jesus don’t get divorces.” Maybe not, but maybe sometimes.
Now I have a new wife and a 16 yr old son. My now 38 yr old daughter trusts in Jesus; my 16 yr old son trusts in Jesus. My 16 yr old, Ian, calls my ex-wife, Aunt Linda, and we get together for Thanksgiving almost every year.
God works in wondrous ways His blessings to perform.
What a Friend we have in Jesus!