What a Friend

“I no longer call you servants. I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” —John 15:15

I recall times long ago in the hospital when Jesus came through as my friend. There were times when He was my one and only comfort during dark lonely nights after visiting hours.  Friends or family weren’t allowed in, so I soothed my pain by imagining a visit from another Friend.

I pictured Jesus – walking through the open doors of my hospital ward, His figure a silhouette against the light from the nurses’ station down the hall. My mind’s eye saw Him walking softly past the beds of my sleeping roommates. I’d comfort myself, imagining His standing at my bedside. The sharp pang of loneliness was eased as I thought of questions He might ask: “Tell me what happened in therapy today. Was it nice to see your sister earlier in the evening? Tell me all about it.”

Talking with Jesus strengthened my confidence in Him, a friend who would ultimately see me through months of suicidal depression at the prospect of permanent paralysis. He was the one who lent a sympathetic ear, His eye contact never faltering.

What a friend I have in Jesus. But I wonder... what kind of a friend does He have in me?

Too often we stay at an arm’s-length distance, pulling back from the full intensity of an intimate friendship with the Lord. We satisfy ourselves with “less” when it comes to our relationship with Him. But His love explodes our selfishness when we hear Him say, “I have called you friends.” His love breaks our hearts as only an intimate friend can.

What a friend I have in You, Lord Jesus. All my sins and griefs You bear. What a privilege to carry everything to You, my Lord, in prayer.

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