Jesus, A Friend of Sinners!

Recently, I was engaged in a thought-provoking and reflective discussion on the value of human friendships in contrast to our reliance on Jesus Christ as a friend. It is a conversation we rarely have with others – even our Christian brothers and sisters. But, how do we wrap our head around the value of our human friends with the reality of our friendship with Jesus? Is it possible to truly develop a friendship with Jesus, and what does that look like? Here’s a peek at the conversation I had this week on the subject. Perhaps my ponderings will spark a fire of desire in your life to go deeper in your relationships – both with friends and with Jesus!

The conversation began following my initial statement on friendships -

“Healthy, Godly friendships are sweet, but they are a poor substitute for a personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The first question posed was this – Does God really meet your needs fully - more than people?

My response -

Yes! God meeting my needs is a non-issue for me. (My wants, that is a different story, but often God goes above and beyond what I could ever dream of!) With that said, God often uses people to confirm his will in my life along with his Word. However, His Word is my guiding light (the cake) and confirmation through people (friendships, music, books) are the extra blessings (the icing, if you will). Ultimately, my needs must be met by my Savior. He is all I really need. He is a gracious God, however, and often uses people to encourage and direct me along the way. It is easy to get the balance wrong though – putting our day-to-day faith in people, and then confirming their thoughts with God's Word.

My inquirer continued - D
o you ever feel let down by God?

My response  -

God's timing is perfect. I have learned (am learning) how to wait in Him. The times I thought God was distant was because I walked away or because my timing and will were not God's will in a situation. It is in the dark times and valleys of desperation when my faith roots have grown deeper. I learned to depend on the truth of scripture and God's all-knowing, ever-present, ever-powerful work in my life - and in the lives of those I love. In this reality, my prayer life grew exponentially and continues to grow to this day. In my humanity and sinfulness, I continue to seek God's will in my life and continue to learn to trust Him as I wait. And when his will becomes evident and the blessings come, I am humbled that the God of the universe cares about even the littlest details in life - and shows himself to be faithful over and over again!

Now, my colleague digs in a bit deeper – If you lost everything, like Job, wouldn't you feel lonely?

My response –

Lonely, yes, but not alone. I feel loneliness now when I only lose one friendship. I feel lonely at times when my husband and I have a disagreement or when I am misunderstood or am left out of an invitation. But, those things are so temporal. In moments of loss, I try to remind myself to rely on verses such as Isaiah 26:3 which says “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” 

An article from speaks to my heart (and my prayer) if faced with loss like Job endured – “It’s hard to imagine losing everything we own in one day - property, possessions and even children. Most men would sink into depression and even become suicidal after such a nightmare; however, Job never wavered in his understanding that God was still in control. He knew who his Redeemer was, he knew that He was a living Savior.” (Job 19:25)

But what about this scenario they asked –
The Jews who lived in the death camps faced disease, persecution and despair. Could God fill that need too?

My heartfelt response was this –

Yes, God could fill that need as well. In trying to consider this reality and what my response might be, my mind goes to Corrie Ten Boom. I could only suffer such atrocities, in faith, with the strength and intervention of the Holy Spirit being the only thing to carry me. So, I say this in the hope of Christ, that He would sustain me as he did for Corrie and countless others throughout history who have suffered beyond what I can comprehend. It is my understanding that Corrie’s book, The Hiding Place, was based on Psalm 119:114. “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” Oh to have the hope of Christ and to find my everything in Him as Corrie did. That would be my prayer. And, yes, God did provide her with comfort from time to time – through human interaction and in other amazing ways.

The below quotes from Corrie also sum up what I would hope I too could experience if faced with such tragedy and trauma.

“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”

…and I conclude with this precious quote from Corrie –

"You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have."

Jesus, He is all we truly need!


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