Focus: Friendship with God
Psalm 36:7-9 (NKJV) How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.
There are few greater pleasures than having the friendship of your children. When they are young, you have a love relationship with them, through the close contact involved with parenting. At that time of their life, you know them better than anyone. You understand the sounds they make and you respond the best way you know how. You put their needs before your own and give them all you’ve got.
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As children grow and become more capable of taking care of themselves, you experience the painful realization that they no longer need you for everything. The small face that used to look up to you for help can sometimes look at you as though you’re suddenly not so smart anymore. Those years are bittersweet. In part, you have succeeded in raising a child to adulthood. Your goal was to teach them to survive apart from you. But now they can, where does that leave you?
Hopefully, they reach a point as young adults when they are satisfied with their independence and have proved what they needed to prove to themselves—and now they can relax a little bit and be your friend in a mutually respectful way. Some children will never allow themselves to experience that. They will always think of their parents as ‘parents’ and not as people who are capable of friendship. What a loss for them.
There is no closer connection or relationship on earth than a parent and their child. A child’s life literally comes from the parent. There is an irrevocable, genetic deposit of the parent in the child that can’t be removed or undone. When a child says they are nothing like their parent and have nothing in common with them, it is the worst kind of rebellion. Not only against the parent, but against the design and purpose of God.
God created human beings for His own pleasure. He made us in His likeness. He wanted friendship with us. As sin came into the world, so did shame and alienation. It wasn’t God’s choice for man to be distant from Him. He never wanted it to be that way—but sin separates. Just like a child will often ‘hide’ when they have done something wrong—people tend to do the same where God is concerned.
A child who has a hard time being friends with their parents may have a hard time thinking of God as a friend, too. People often think of God in the same terms as their parents. If they don’t trust their parents—they will probably have to work extra hard at developing a trust where God is concerned, also.
As we consider having the ability to become what God wants…all of these dynamics come into play. If we had to earn our parent’s approval through performance, our relationship with God might start out being performance oriented, too. It might take a lot of time and experience before we come to the point of realizing that performance shouldn’t be the primary way we show God our love. He is looking for our time and attention—our friendship.
A loving parent never gets tired of their child asking for their opinion. Seeking the wisdom of their parent is the highest compliment a child can pay to them. It’s not as though parents know everything—sometimes parents have to tell their child they don’t have an answer, but they can offer to pray that God will give their child the answer they need.
God loves to share what He knows with His children when they ask. He delights in us spending time with Him, listening for His voice, and giving Him the respect He is due. Acknowledging God’s wisdom in matters where you are stumped, is giving Him glory and honor. He loves to be available—but more than just being your problem solver—He wants to be someone whose company you actually prefer—not someone you visit now and then out of obligation.
Spend a few moments with the following exercise: Imagine a picture of the lovingkindness of God. Stop and consider what His lovingkindness looks like to you. Visualize putting your trust under the shadow of God’s wings. What does it look like when you think about being abundantly satisfied by the fullness of His house? Picture God giving you a drink from the river of His pleasures. How does it taste? See Him as the fountain of life. You don’t have to fear death because the life He gives you is everlasting. Grasp His image as being wonderful, illuminating light. Embrace the thought that as you are close to Him and abide in His presence—you become able to ‘see the light’…in other words, the answers to the problems you may be facing are revealed.
Declaration: I will find new strength by cultivating a more intimate relationship with God. I choose to trust Him and not be distant. I will cherish the time I spend with Him because He is my closest friend.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.