” I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
In the film Sleeper, Woody Allen plays a character who wakes up in another century, having been frozen in a scientific experiment. He is given a stack of photographs from our century to identify, which prompts a series of hilarious one-liners. Billy Graham’s picture comes up. Allen pauses, then says, “Billy Graham…claimed to have a personal relationship with God.” The audience, of course, cracks up. That is how absurd the idea sounds to many people.*
What is more astonishing is that God doesn’t think it’s absurd. He is very interested in relating to us. He’s a host issuing party invitations left and right. He’s a shepherd leaving the ninety-nine in the field to seek the one lost lamb. He’s a wealthy king lavishing a party on lowlifes. He seeks friendship.
We should be that passionate. But often we seek a church, or a style of worship, or a way of studying the Bible, or a method of prayer. We make these things the focus, rather than Him. Study methods and worship techniques are helpful, but even Jesus was astounded that people could devote their entire lives to studying Scripture yet fail to know the One to whom Scripture was pointing (John 5:39-40).
Even in the best relationships, we are still left aching for someone to enter our struggle — to embrace us with a passion that seizes and melts us into a union that will never be broken. We want friendship, real and deep. Intimacy with God blossoms when we enter “the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.” When suffering is shared, hearts can’t help but be pressed together. Relationship is then no longer a routine…it’s real.
Lord God, I want to seek You in the way You seek a relationship with me. And not just a “relationship,” but a true and glad friendship. That’s what I want with You.