God, Our First Friend

Sprite and Ice cubes

“WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be a friend of God? The mystics joyfully remind us that we are born from God; we live in God; and we return to God. Certainly we know this is true as we watch an orange-red sun drop beneath the edge of the ocean or witness a newborn kicking his tiny feet in the air. But so often these miracles of life are dimmed by distraction and busyness. We find ourselves stuck in the rut of the familiar. Our first Friend, God, may even seem far away.”

– Stephanie Ford
Hungering for God

(via Upper Room Daily Reflections)

We use to sing “Jesus, You are my best friend ..” over and over again. The chords were cool, the atmosphere usually electrifying. And yet, for many the picture of God as “Friend” fades quickly. I suppose if we see it more as God is my buddy alone, that’s when we sang the right words but missed the depth of true friendship with God.

I’m not too old yet 🙂 but at the turn and beginning of the year, it was good to catch up with some “friends”. I’ve been fortunate in my journey thus far to have become friends with people of all sorts of shapes and sizes, personalities and temperaments. The added bonus is some have played mentor in my life at some stage. Now, as I use the word “friend” it’s more than just buddies I can hang out overnight and talk 101 topics. It’s beyond just doing stuff together. It’s sharing life. Speaking into each others hearts. It’s appreciating the silence between the words. At times, we learn to refrain from offering unsolicited advice so the “other” may work things through as they articulate what’s cluttered inside.

Being a “Friend” has evolved into more enriching ways that I expected. And, revisiting this theme with God strikes me as a good place to be. Because sometimes, as we are exploring other pictures in our minds to describe our walk with him, it’s easy to abandon older metaphors because they may now look simplistic or unsophisticated.

The Richard Foster Calendar I have in front of me (a gift May Chin gave me in many Christmases ago!), based on the book Prayer has a good quote from John Dalrymple:

“We never outgrow Simple Prayer, because we never outgrow the need which give rise to it.”

What applies to Simple Prayer, I believe, applies to many other core aspects of human life – Friendship included. Whether with God or people. “God, Our First Friend” … I haven’t outgrown that, in fact, I find myself growing deeper into the riches that this relationship entails 🙂

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
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