Can God Be My Own Dear Close Friend?

Perhaps you have suffered some great sorrow or disappointment. Perhaps you have been betrayed by friends in whom you placed your trust. Perhaps you have been hurt by some injustice, some hatred against which you have found it impossible to struggle.

It is at times like these, we are sure, that there comes to you a hunger to know a better and a stronger Friend, a truer and a wiser justice, a finer and a fairer life than you have ever lived before.

Do you then yearn to turn over your sorrow and sadness, your loneliness to some Power beyond yourself? Do you then hope to see some life beyond your life, to have some Friend beyond your earthly friends? Do you then yearn to know God as a dear, close Friend?

If you do, then the Friendship of God is described over and over again in your Bible. Jesus said time and time again that God wants to be our own, dear, close Friend. Over and over, He told what a wonderful friend our Father is.

"What is the secret of your life? Tell me that I may make mine beautiful, too?" Someone asked a happy, radiant woman. "God is my Friend!" she answered.

To really know and feel God as a dear, close Friend, there is something which you, yourself, must do, something which you, yourself, must believe. For it takes two to be a friend of God just as it takes two to make human friends.

You must believe, not that God used to be a Friend to men centuries ago, but that God is your Friend today! You must believe that not only did men and women know God far off in the Holy Land, but that you can know him today and can always know Him!

Perhaps you have come to think of God as a Being far away, a Being who used to come to this earth centuries past with thunder and miracle, with lightning and majesty. But if you really want to feel God as a dear, close Friend, you must know and feel that this is not so. You must know and feel that God is in the world within you now!

If you want to know God as a dear, close Friend, you must see Him and feel Him as a Friend. You must see God's friendship in the very commonest things of nature. You must see His friendship in the ripening of a seed, the springing of the grass, the formation of a feather, the wonders of your own body. All these declare the glory of God and show His handiwork!

But most of all you must see God's friendship in the happenings in your own life: You may have regarded God as, in some measure, the God of the poet and the singer. He is their God, but as well is He the God of the farmer and the laborer. You may have thought of God as the God of the minister and the speaker. He is, but He is no less the God of the housewife and the lonely widow. God is the God and the Friend of the ordinary man and woman. He is your Friend !

Sometimes you may have thought that God reveals Himself only at certain consecrated places - the church, the grave, the mountain top, the place of prayer. It is true that He does reveal Himself there - for those are the places you would want a dear close friend to be.

But God is also your Friend while you are at home yes, while you are away from home; while you are working in a field or a factory, while you are resting or playing, while you toss in sleepless anxiety!

Sometimes you may have felt that God is present only at the unusual times, of your life - at birth, at death, at weddings, at consecrations. Yes, He is present then, just as any good friend would be, but He is no less present at the simple, ordinary happenings of your life - when you take a walk; when you visit the house of a sick friend, when you sit before the fire, when you go about your errands, when you lie down to sleep.

So do not wait for the unusual times and places and activities to bring you the revelation of God's friendship for you, but, rather look for Him not without but within.

The voice of God, your dear Friend, is speaking when you choose the good deed rather than the bad; when you are sorry for what hurt you may have done. The voice of God, your dear Friend, speaks when you do an unselfish service, when you feel pity for the sorrowing or forgiveness for one who has wronged.

And the wonderful thing about your dear Friend, God, is this: earthly friends become strange, they move away or they die. But God's friendship never changes, it is eternal.

It is like the story of the two hunters who were driven during a great storm to the shelter of a cave in the mountains. It was night when they came out and all the familiar landmarks had been changed or swept away. But one of them pointed to the evening stars and said: "They're just the same: We can find our way home by them!"

To believe in God as a dear, close Friend is very much different than just believing there is a God. Just to believe that is of little comfort to you unless out of it comes a longing for Him or a feeling that He is a dear friend whom you can know and tell your troubles to.

Friendship with God is not only the secret of peace and joy, but it is the secret of achievement. With God as a dear, close Friend you will find rest not only from your many tasks but in whatever you undertake. With God as a dear, close Friend you will know how to carry your burdens without being overcome by them.

A farmer was trying to raise a great stone from the ground with his bare hands. A wise friend said to him: "I will show you how to lift it more easily." The friend made a lever out of another stone and a plank. Soon, with a quarter of the labor, the stone was raised. In the same way, when you know God as a dear Friend, He says: “Come, I will show you how to raise your sorrow and your loneliness, my child.”

God’s fellowship, God’s friendship was never more clearly understood and pointed out as when Jesus said to His disciples: “When ye pray, say Father.” Why, just the word “Father” paints a different picture of God. You can be a dear friend of your “Father.” You can look to your Father as one who supplies your needs, as one who guides you and comforts you, as one to whom you can tell all your little cares and aches and troubles!

A man stopped at a lowly cabin in a remote section of the country and asked for directions. Thanking the kind gentleman who gave them to him, he asked: "Sir, do you live here all alone?" With a warm smile be answered; “Just me, and my heavenly Father." He knew God as a dear, close Friend, just as you can know Him.

Yes, your life may be full of work and problems and troubles. There might be so many problems which seem to demand an immediate answer, there might be so many things which take up every minute and seem to leave none for God, your Father and Friend.

But if you really and truly want to know God as a dear, close Friend you must put aside time to become acquainted with Him. And surely it is possible to put aside ten minutes a day to get better acquainted with God! In these golden minutes you have enough time to relax your body, your mind and your spirit. In these minutes you have enough time to open a little door in your life and let His spirit and His friendship flow gently in!

These few minutes can be an inner temple where each day you can renew your closer friendship with God. As the Psalmist said: “Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still.” Just these few moments of communion will give you such wonderful peace and balance that they will often take you through the most deep-felt sadness and the most difficult day.

Just to be still and commune with your own heart is to feel the friendship of God. It is His voice which you hear in the silence of your soul. A Chinese philosopher once said: "Go often to the house of your friend lest weeds spring up in the path and you cannot find the way."

When you have a good earthly friend you get great joy from going to visit that person. To listen to your friend speak or to speak to your friend is in itself a joy. In like manner, if you want God to be your dear, close Friend, you must go often to his house, you must speak to Him and listen to Him.

When you are with a good friend you do not always ask that friend for something. You do not speak all the time. There are moments, even hours, when good friends are together that no words are spoken, yet both experience wonderful peace and happiness.

Prayer is the language of God, the language of communion with Him. It is mingling your own life with God's great life. It is listening to God.

A man who was overwhelmed with troubles, debts, and worries could stand them no longer. Although it was late at night, he went to the house of a retired minister. He rang the bell and the old man greeted him quietly and invited him into the front room. For awhile the man poured out his many troubles to the minister who listened sympathetically and quietly. When the man had ceased speaking, the minister did not give him any advice, but just said: "Let us pray."

He got down on his knees and the man did likewise. As the minister prayed, the man looked at him. His face was a fine, old face, worn by many years of not-too-easy ministry. But it was the face of a fine, old man talking to an old Friend. The prayer the minister prayed had no flowery phrases in it. It was the prayer of an elderly man talking to a Friend to whom he would rather talk than to anyone on earth. He retold in simple words the problems of the man beside him. He did not ask God immediately to solve all these problems. He just told his dear Friend, God about them and asked God to give His friendship to this saddened man.

As the man left the house of the old minister, he looked back and saw the little house with the lamp still shining in the window. At last he felt what dear, close friendship with God meant.

Prayer That I May Know God as a Dear, Close Friend

“…The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed;
but my kindness shall not depart from thee…”
Isaiah 54:10

Dear, loving Father, whose greatness covers the whole, wide universe, yet who comest to me even in a little prayer like this, alone with Thee I am not alone. From out all the great vastness of space, Thou comest even to me. Thou makest my darkness light and the light glorious. Thy heart beats with mine. Thy spirit is with me.

O dear Father, be with me when no earthly friend is near. Be with me in times when I can call on no one else. Be with me, Father, from the time I wake up until I go to sleep – and all through the hours of the night. Let me feel Thy friendship which is so different from all the other friendships that I might have.

Help me to feel that friendship so dear and close, loving God. Help me live with Thy friendship so that everyday I can look up into Thine eyes without shame or fear.

Help me to feel Thy friendship, dear Father, in every sunset and every star that shines. Help me to feel Thy wonderful love, nearer and dearer than any other! Yes, dear Father, help me to feel Thee as a dear close Friend, walking with me today and tomorrow and forever and ever. And so I cannot tell Thee how happy this thought makes me feel, my Father. I can just stay here and be the happiest person alive … because Thou art my Friend. 

Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...

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