Friend of God
One weekend about two years ago, my husband and I were headed to an Unbound conference. On the plane ride, I read from Fr. Francis Martin’s book, The Life Changer. Fr. Francis wrote:
“God chose Abraham to be his friend. God initiated the friendship and promised abundant blessing…. Abraham’s relationship with God was secure. In calling Abraham into friendship, God seemed especially to desire a relationship which was deeply personal…”
As I read those words, the Holy Spirit swelled up inside of me, and I wanted to stand up and yell out, “I want this kind of friendship with You, God!” Instead I prayed silently, but passionately, “Oh, Lord, please let me be Your friend like that. I know I am not worthy, and who am I to even dare ask it of You, but You have placed this longing in me. I want this kind of intimate friendship with You!” And then I read the most beautiful words, “God loves us and wants each one of us to be his friend. From all eternity, he has wanted us as his own special people. The deepest motive of this divine will is the Father’s wish to share his very own life with us in intimate friendship.”
As I read on, though, I was a little sobered by what Fr. Martin had to say:
“But what is our instinctive response to God’s offer of friendship? We draw back and say, ‘But I’ll lose control of my life. What will God ask of me? What hardships or suffering will he ask me to endure if I give him free reign?’ The heart of sin is that we do not trust God as friend.”
Oh, wow. He was describing me completely. My fear. But even with that revelation, what the Holy Spirit stirred up in me, the desire for His friendship, was greater than the fear of surrender.
On the second night of the conference, Matt Lozano, one of the speakers, asked us to draw lines with our feet on the floor in front of us. He described each progressive line as a deeper surrender to the Lord. As we drew the lines with our feet, Matt asked us to step over the line as an act of surrender and commitment to Christ. With white-knuckled determination, I took each step like a leap of faith in the dark. But later that night, the Lord transformed my resolute sense of duty into a gift of love. He connected the experience He had given me on the plane with the act of surrender to Him. Giving God my life isn’t a leap of faith into darkness, hoping that He will catch me. It is the complete surrender that a bride gives to her husband on their wedding day. She gives him all because of the love that exists between them. My surrender wasn’t my jumping off a cliff, but rather my taking God’s extended hand, like Abraham did, and accepting to follow Him completely because He offers me His intimate friendship.
Jesus says to us, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends” (John 15:15, italics added).
By Adriana Gonzalez