Hearing from a Friend, a Benefactor or a Change Agent?

Ever since I began to have a stronger relationship with God I have heard from other Christians that He was “my Friend” and I have bought into this idea and I have talked to Him as my Friend.

Let me be particular, the earlier weaker relationship I had with God in my life centered on doing my duty by going to church. I was raised to see value in going to church so I did it. God was not really my friend. I did not understand that concept.

Looking back now, I am not sure what I got out of my attendance in the weaker relationship days but I went to church anyhow.

Truthfully, I think I thought of attendance as “racking up points” with God. Maybe he appreciated me just being in church. I’m not sure.

Then I went through a period in my life where I went to church to be seen. All the community leaders were there and I wanted to be one of those community leaders too.   To be one, you had to rub elbows with them and I saw church as a benefit in becoming one of the “in crowd.”

Then weak became strong.

Let’s not belabor this, but I began to lean on God more and more, just to get through the day. His presence was manifest in my life, 24/7 and I did not relegate Him to the one hour on Sunday.

This was the time I began to pray to Him every day.

I had never done that before.

But I was doing it now.

It started early in the morning one day with a cup of coffee. Susan my wife does not like the early morning hours and I just love them. Nothing excites me more that the chance to start a new day fresh.

I love walking to the kitchen and hitting the coffee pot button. Then the drip, drip, drip of the water as it goes through the basket. I take the cup to a room where I can look out the window and I sit in a recliner or recline on a bed.

Some would say, “well then you probably go back to sleep.”

No, I don’t.

Sometimes I just let the caffeine wash over my brain, sometimes I mutter a thought or two. Eventually I share my concerns with the Lord. On some days, I get very open and honest with God, pouring out my problems and asking for answers. On some days, I ask Him to use me, I ask Him to place me where I can do His work through me.

It is a special time for me.

Talking to my friend.

Before this change in my life, I saw God as my benefactor, a “go too” Santa who was available for me to ask for things. Sometimes I asked for help, sometimes I asked for advice, sometimes I asked for His influence with people who were driving me nuts.

The point is, I asked for things.

I was going to church and “racking up points” so I hoped He would note that and give me what I wanted. Maybe I thought that I deserved that my wishes would come true.

I prayed very infrequently.

Once a week, once every two or three weeks. I felt I was in control and did not need Him to get through life. I had it under control.

Until I knew I had lost control.

Talking to Him as my Benefactor stopped. He became my Friend.

Now my prayer life is changing. I still get up in the early morn and I have my routine that centers on coffee and time with Him, but I sense that God is changing me, asking things from me.

I am asking for Him to use me more and more and He is doing just that.

He is putting things before me and challenging me to participate. I can say no, “ I don’t have time.” No, “ I don’t have the skill.”   No, “ I am afraid.”

But I know those excuses are just that—excuses.

I often wonder why I am living now, why I am in Hopkinsville, why I have my particular set of friends and acquaintances, why I attend St. John United Methodist.

I don’t wonder why I am married to Susan.

She has been God’s change agent in my life.

But I wonder where He is leading me now…in the future.

I don’t have to know.

What He gives me today is enough.

His words in Jeremiah 29:11 are sufficient.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

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