I Have Called You Friends

If you are like me, you like to read or hear people tell about how God reached into their life in a dramatic way and saved their life or saved their soul or healed them. I always enjoy reading about the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, and how Jesus met him and talked to him and turned his life around. But when I look at my own life, there is not a dramatic turning point. There is God everywhere I look, at the beginning, in the middle, and I know that he will be at the end as wel I.
I imagine that many Christians have a story similar to mine: I grew up in the church, my parents were good people who loved the Lord and loved me and did their best to guide me on the path of life. They made their mistakes, and so did I, but generally life was good. I always knew that God created the world, that Jesus died for me, and that I could come to God at any time in prayer. I had good pastors and teachers, and found it easy to memorize Bible verses and facts about Christianity. I considered becoming a pastor myself because I thought it would help me remain close to God.
Actually, I wasn''t close to God. I wanted to be, but there were some things that I needed to learn and do first. It wasn''t until I was in college that I learned that God wants to be involved in our daily struggles and decisions. I had thought of him as a sort of long distance advisor whom I could consult if I had a very big crisis, but not as someone who wanted to advise me about daily details and choices. But one day God broke through with that insight: that no part of my life is too small or too hard for him. Later on I learned that he not only wants to be involved, but that he also wants to be in control, that he wants to be Lord of my life. I can''t tell you what day I gave my heart to Jesus, but I know that since I invited him to live in me and to be Lord of my life, he has done just that.
I didn''t have many friends as a young person. I was sby and socially awkward, and maybe I still am, but I do have one friend who accepts me if I have little or even nothing at all to say, and that is my Lord Jesus. Some people seem to be able to pray without ceasing, but I have always struggled to pray. I know that he already knows what I am thinking and what I want and what I need. But I do spend a lot of time thinking in his presence, wondering what he thinks about some problem, or what would he like to do to help certain people, and how I can help to accomplish what he wants done in this world. I can''t say that God has ever spoken to me in a voice that I could hear, but he certainly has made his thoughts known to me, and I delight to get those glimpses into his ways. Of course, most of those glimpses of him come through his word. I have tried for about 25 years now to read some in the Bible every day, and that is the main way he speaks his thoughts to me. I have recently become involved in Bible Study Fellowship, and recommend it as one way to deliberately study the Bible to come to know God better. I think most Christians want to study the Bible and know their Lord better, but they need the discipline of a study or program to help them keep with it.
God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and son, and he helps me in my daily struggles of running a business, being a husband and father and son and church member and citizen and all of the other activities that fill our days of this life. I have weaknesses and problems that I just can''t seem to get past, and still God is there. I suffer defeats and grief in life, and still God is there. I also have good days and wonderful times, and I thank him for those, but I especially thank Jesus for being my friend. In John 15 Jesus says: "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." What a marvelous opportunity we have, to be friends of the creator of the universe. What an awesome God we have, who wants to be our friend! "What a friend we have in Jesus."