Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Perks of Being Called 'Friend'

I debated on whether or not to post last week's blog because I always want to use this platform to be a light for the Kingdom. As an optimist, I try my best to look at life from a glass-half-full perspective. The post had a "happy ending," but was, for the most part, pessimistic. I decided to post it anyway because I'm called to show people a God who will meet them where they are. People need to know that following Christ is the best decision they can ever make. God is marvelous, matchless, gracious, all that and more--however, even in following Him, especially in following Him, there will be days when you cry. There will be days when you're frustrated, when you don't know what's next, when you know there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but you're just tired of being in the tunnel...and that's okay. God loves you enough to "meet" you where you're tired, but here's where you hold up your end of the bargain: You have to be willing to let Him take care of you.

Image source: Alexandria First Baptist Church

Last week, I said I was tired of being in timeout, but I realized that only part of that was God allowing me to stay there. The other part was simply self-inflicted frustration, kicking and screaming.

O, what peace we often forfeit

O, what needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

This excerpt from the old hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" has been ministering to me so much in the past week. We complain to God that we have no peace, but the truth is, WE rob ourselves of peace when we try to be in control. In John 15:13‭-‬15, Jesus says: 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (NIV)

A friend is someone you can trust, someone you can lean on in times of distress, someone who will listen to you and be honest with you, who will not tell you what you want to hear, but rather, what you need to hear. God is the best friend we could ever hope to have. He wants to see us flourish, but before we step into the things He's promised us, we have to be pruned.

If God is taking you through something, it means He wants you to grow, most likely in anticipation of the next season. A good friend wouldn't send you to a new level unprepared. If it hurts now, it's because God is equipping you! Ask Him to open your heart and mind so He can speak to you in the pruning season. Ask Him to open your eyes so that you can see beyond your current situation and look into your future, but in the meantime, figure out what you're supposed to be learning. There is a lesson to be learned in every season. As James 1:2‭-‬4 reminds us, there is joy even in the in-between:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV)

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

You don't have to bear the pain in this season. Relinquish the hold, trust Him and turn your frustration into expectation. You've got friend privileges. Use them!

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