Over the past several months I’ve been on a virtual book tour appearing on radio talk shows across the country, speaking before church and civic groups, and doing readings at a book fair and book stores to promote my book Choices & Challenges, Lessons In Faith, Hope and Love. In doing so I’ve had conversations with a cross section of our country’s people ranging from radio program hosts, to ministers, to taxi drivers and most of the sorts in between.
In these conversations a number of things have jumped out at me. The one that intrigues me the most, though is how people view their relationship with God. They often wanted to talk about how God acts towards us; how we, as people of faith, act towards each other or those without faith; what we must do to meet God’s will; and whether a deity exists at all.
Not one, however, has asked about or even suggested the possibility of our having a one on one relationship with God based on friendship instead of as servitor or supplicant.
By this I don’t mean dropping in at the local sports bar with God to catch a football game or swap stories. Instead, I mean thinking about God as friends think about each other. That is caring about His well being and feelings even as He cares about ours. Is He content with how things are going? Is He worried about something? What can we do to help Him in a friendly way?
While it may be presumptuous to even dream of being a friend of God as opposed to just His servant, I think we should at least consider the possibility. Or at least consider it as far as it is possible to do so for finite beings such as we are in comparison with an infinite and unlimited God. (I know, I know, putting this in terms we can visualize, it’s like asking if the smallest of milk ants can befriend the largest of elephants without getting stomped – but I’m asking anyway.)
We believe God, as a sentient being, has feelings and emotions. He is not just some cold, calculating thing more akin to a computer than the living vibrant entity He truly is. While His feelings are infinite in nature they are also capable of being segmented and focused down to the pinpoint size needed to interact with each of us individually. And it is this individual locus that I’m concerned with.
If God can feel compassion, love, joy, anger and disgust; if He can be both patient and impatient, glad or sad, shouldn’t we be concerned, as friends are, to not engender the negative sides of that spectrum? Instead of only worrying about how we feel, shouldn’t we also care about how God feels? We should go out of our way to do everything in our power to voluntarily seek to alleviate any disquiet God may feel about us. We should do so not because God can’t absorb, without flinching, all of the negativity we shove at Him. He certainly can and does. Instead, we should do so because that’s what friends do.
Author of Choices and Challenges: Lessons in Faith, Hope, and Love