But over the years I’ve come to the realization and understanding that friendship is not a good description of my relationship with God…and I’m okay with that.
When I think of my friends here on earth I think of my college buddies with whom I’m still in contact. We met at A&M and had much in common. We all loved sports. We loved to joke around. We didn’t take life too seriously. I was comfortable around them and they me. While we pushed each other it was always done gently never with the intention to hurt the other. And to this day when we all get together as we did the past January these elements of friendship are still at the core of our relationships. As all of us have entered into our thirty-somethings with wives and kids we still talk sports, joke around, take life a little less serious. It’s comfortable. It’s known. It’s easy.
As I read through the Bible, as I read through history and as I continue to live life I find that God is serious. He is serious about his work of redemption in this world. God is serious about me only loving him and no other. He is serious about bringing about his kingdom. And he takes it so seriously that he doesn’t mind pushing me, and pushing me hard! He knows it will hurt and he knows it will cost much and he knows it will be uncomfortable and he knows it will lead into the unknown. But he does it anyway.
So when I think about these elements of God I’m not so sure I want to be his friend. No wonder the prophets of the Old Testament didn’t want their task of prophesying. No wonder the disciples of the New Testament kept getting it wrong. God doesn’t play around.
That’s not to say that God doesn’t want me to clown around or make fake fart noises with my friends. He allows me to play around in that sense but when it comes to his kingdom work here on this earth, he isn’t too interested in who won the NBA championship or whether A&M should hype McNeal as next year’s Heisman.
The questions for me become these: Do I really want to be involved with a God who pushes so hard? Do I really want to follow this God that inevitably will call for my comfort to be made uncomfortable, my ease to be made hard, my known to be made unknown? And finally, should I choose to follow, what language shall I borrow to describe it, to describe my journey with God? Because language of friendship just doesn’t do it for me.