JESUS AS MY FRIEND
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
For years, we have sung the hymn “what a friend we have in Jesus.” Another song says “I am a friend of God…. He calls me friend.”
Sometimes we feel like:”nobody likes me; everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go out in the garden and eat worms.” We feel upset because someone we considered a friend has upset or deserted us. We forget that we need to be a friend in return.
Someone once told me “I don’t have any friends. I’m not even my own friend.” I reminded him that I am his friend, that, in fact, Jesus is his friend.
School-age kids put friendship above anything else. “My friends get to do this, why can’t I?” “You’re not my friend,” when they do not get their own way. They often shut out Jesus as their friend and therefore, they miss out on Him.
In other cases, one interprets friendship with Jesus as always easy, happy, and comfortable. In his poem about friendship, Henry David Thoreaux points out that real friendship withstands time, difficulties, and is not always easy, happy and comfortable when he writes:
Two sturdy oaks I mean, which side by side,
Withstand the winter’s storm,
And spite of wind and tide,
Grow up the meadow’s pride,
For both are strong
Above they barely touch, but undermined
Down to their deepest source,
Admiring you shall find
Their roots are intertwined
This is how it is with our friendship with Jesus. It is not like being wrapped in cotton batting and placed in a box, to hibernate–safe, secure, comfortable, protected from life and the elements. No, friendship with Jesus is real. It involves our going outside of our own personal comfort, dealing with major life issues, our friendship with Him being tested, but always with Him omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. He will never leave us. He will protect us. He will see us through, no matter the hardships of our lives.
We can talk to Jesus about anything we want, including our fear, doubt, pain, and sadness. He has known them all. He is not going to put us in a situation where if we talk about a certain difficulty, He will say “sorry, you’re making things hard on me. I’m out of here.” No, He sees us through no matter what!
After our baptism in Jesus’ name, we might hope that things will be smooth sailing. Not necessarily so. However, we are, with Jesus, as Thoreaux says, intertwined, inseparable. Praise God for this best of friendships!