Proverbs 18-24b…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
One day, not unlike a lot of days in the wake of my father’s death, I found myself sobbing in the midst of my prayers. There was an ache in the deepest part of me. Dad was gone for good. No longer could I gain a little wisdom through a chat on the phone with him; we wouldn’t be laughing over a great meal together; the celebrations of birthdays, holidays, weddings, graduations would be lacking one essential character…DAD!
When dad was on the scene he brought some precious gifts with him—humor, stories, enthusiasm, appreciation for the moment, and love for those who were in the moment with him. These qualities, along with loyalty, faithfulness, intentionality, gratitude, and compassion are what made dad a true friend. For many who knew him, well or even casually, it seems like dad’s most precious gift of all was his friendship. In words that dad would use to describe another friend, dad was a “real pick me up.” When you were blue, or scared, or uncertain, dad was there with words that would cheer, soothe, guide.
As I sat there crying, this realization hit me hard: I would greatly miss Dad’s friendship. And I think that’s what we will all miss most of all. The essence of Dad as friend. But in my sadness, I felt a gentle tug on my heart, and I recalled words of scripture and a wonderful worship song, “I am a friend of God; He calls me friend.”
God was speaking…
“You know the way you felt about your dad? How you felt so welcomed whenever you came to visit?”
“You always knew your Dad was genuinely delighted to see you.”
“Yes…you’re right. Dad’s face lit up when I came to visit.”
“Well, that’s how I feel when you come to me.”
“You do? I mean I know the scriptures say, ‘Come to me.’ But I guess I never pictured your face lighting up when I start chatting, or ranting, or praying…”
“That’s what I want you to know. My face lights up when you come to visit! I am genuinely thrilled and delight in you. You are my beloved.”
This encounter didn’t quite take away the pain of missing dad as my friend, but, you know, it helped. I am deeply grateful for that encounter that day. It helps to know I have a friend who will not ever go away.
We never have to grieve over the loss of our relationship with God. He’s right there, all the time. And He delights to be with us!
What’s your story? I think each of us “hears” from God in different ways. And I’m not saying I heard an audible voice. But I did “hear” God with my heart. What’s He saying to you today?