I read a book awhile back that I’d initially written off as heretical, one that I feel like I’ve mentioned before. I suppose if I did a search on my own site I might discover it. As it turned out, when I actually read He Loves Me, I discovered some wonderful truth about God and specifically how he feels about me.
My early years — well, probably the first couple decades — could be described as friendless. Aside from a a few here and there, I haven’t had many friends. I’m sure there are reasons for this, which might include how I may not have been a good friend myself. Whatever the case, it left me with a sense of unlikeability (I’m not sure that’s a word), that little about me was likeable. Of course, my wife has been my best friend, but she is supposed to like me.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept about God is that he desires to be my friend. Father to me as one who was, in a way, fatherless — certainly. A comfort in times of distress — without question. A solid rock in an age of uncertainy — most assuredly. But one who wants to be my friend?
Why? Why would Jesus want to be my friend?
See, I’ve always had this sense about Jesus that he merely tolerates me. I also thought of him in this way regarding his disciples. How could Jesus endure such a ragtag bunch of hooligans, I would wonder. Could it be that he actually liked them? Could it be that Andrew — one we don’t hear much about — had a knack for making Jesus laugh? Didn’t Jesus once say that he would no longer call them servants but friends?
John 17:24-26 (ESV)
24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Passages like this remind me that Jesus might just like me. For he is speaking about me here — and you — when he says that he desires for me to be with him. He is not the older brother that puts up with me.
I think of him the way I think of Lindsay, the 13-year-old big sister who loves to play with Micah, to give him a bath, and to help get him dressed for church on Sundays. She was devastated when we lost Gabriel (see “Eso es todo”) certainly because she loved him but also because she liked being with him.
It’s the same with God. The wonderful thing is that I don’t have to wait to see him face to face to experience his friendship, although that will be indescribably amazing.
What a friend indeed do we have in Jesus.