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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Could someone like me be God's friend?

As I looked out the windows of my room the other day at the beautiful snow on the trees, I thought about how great it would be to have friendship and favor with the awesome Creator who designed such an amazing world. But some of my experiences make me question whether that could really be true of me, because as David said “my sin is ever before me” (Psa. 51:3), and the suffering that has resulted from it has “broken my heart” in so many ways (Psa. 68:11-12, 20, 2 Cor. 2:6-8). Such circumstances do not seem by any stretch to be those of a friend of God.

But thankfully experiences and circumstances are not the basis of truth. So I continued in my meditations…

Is there any way a loser like me could be God's friend? And then I thought, If undeserving people want to become the friend of a powerful VIP, they could do so by having a relationship with someone who is close to him.  If we know someone he loves, he will give us the time of day, and if that person loves us he will even gladly give us his love because of the one who is so close to him. And then I remembered the essence of the gospel, that in Christ we can be friends of God for precisely that reason. God the Father loves his Son so much that if we are placed in union with him by faith, we can be truly loved by this powerful Creator who is the author of so much amazing beauty…

Psalm 8
1O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!....
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars [and snow!], which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!

That last verse is quoted in the New Testament as referring to Jesus, which confirms the idea that it is our union with Him that causes God to “take thought” and even “care” for us. Hebrews 9:9 says, “We do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”

And then verse 10 tells us that even our suffering (yes, even suffering for sin, because Jesus did) is an inevitable evidence of being “in Christ”… “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.”

So I do have hope after all, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, that I am a son of God the Father, a brother of Jesus Christ, and a beloved friend of all three Divine Persons who spoke this incredible universe into existence—the Holy Trinity who ordained the beautiful snow (and even the back pain we get from shoveling it)!

[Additional note: Something else that gives me hope is realizing I am much more like the tax collector than I am the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14). But more on that some other time…]

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