Meet Hazel. My wife and I added her to our family just over 1 year ago. She is an English Shepherd and she goes everywhere with us. She loves playing hockey, mountain biking, and running on the trails. It may sound cliché, but she is the epitome of man’s best friend! She is loyal, loves people, has plenty of energy, and wants to be where we are… always! For whatever reason, she shows unconditional love, even when my own emotions seem to be riding the roller-coaster of life. She listens to me, even when I vent, although she never speaks back. Everyone has a best friend – a person you know you can go to when you’re going through the pits; the person you call first when you’ve received amazing news! They are there through thick and thin and are eager to share life with you. Who is your best friend?
Honestly, there are days that some of us don’t feel like God is our best friend. Frankly, we sometimes don’t feel like he is a friend at all; especially when life is throwing wrenches at us. We struggle to make it through a day at a time and hardly recognize God at the helm of our lives. Then He becomes the one we blame when we can’t make sense of life’s circumstances. What kind of friendship is this?
Once, I met a lady named Sue. She had no job. Her occupation was talking to God. At first, I thought this lady sounded crazy, but after digging into her life, I realized that she wasn’t even close to the loony bin. In fact, quite the opposite was true. She understood the Grace and Mercy of God in a way I couldn’t even imagine. She would wake up in the morning and address God before her feet hit the floor. She would pray through her house as she got ready in the morning, then she went to the church to hit her knees for a majority of the day before returning home. I imagine she had callouses on her knees resulting from her constant posture on the floor. I began to wonder, ‘could I spend a month, a week, or even a day in prayer?’
Then there are the men of the Bible that really seemed to get it, despite their faults: Abraham, Moses, David, Job, and Paul. These guys truly heard from God but they were in constant prayer and communion with them. I’d consider them God’s ‘best friends.’ They talked to God all the time, and God responded through prophets, a burning bush, and even a gentle whisper.
I’d love to hear the audible voice of God someday. I don’t think that’s out of the question, but like any friendship, communication must be shared and constant for the relationship to flourish. As Rick Warren puts it: “Prayer lets you speak to God; meditation lets God speak to you. Both are essential to becoming a friend of God.” Here’s where we need practice. Throughout the day, it IS possible to be in constant communion with God. Statements as simple as “Thank-you, God for…” or “I love you because…” are a good place to start worshiping throughout the day. If God is INVITED to be a part of our day, everything we do can be in His presence. But most importantly, being still and listening is a critical part of the equation. Take King David, for example:
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them.” (Ps. 77:12).
I bet David had callouses on his knees. God intervened for Abraham when Isaac was on the alter, He spoke to Moses to save the Israelites, He gave Job strength through trials, spoke through Paul while in prison, and He is the same God today as he was when he created the universe.
As far as I can tell, here is where I need practice –
Be still. Listen. Make Him your best friend.