What a friend we have in Jesus...

Today, the Young Women were learning about Jesus. Specifically, why He is a good friend to have. There was a lot of talk about Him being patient, non-judgmental, loving us in spite of our imperfections, His loyalty and how He understand our pain because He has experienced it.

And while my gratitude for all these qualities and for the fact that He loves us in spite our imperfections is profound, since I am riddled with imperfection, I felt moved to emphasize that it's not the imperfections He is hung up on at all. Yes, He is merciful and kind regarding them, but I believe that our imperfections and weaknesses are very peripheral in His view of us.

What He sees overwhelmingly is our potential, the pure magnificence of our spirits. He delights (I imagine in the same way a mother delights in her baby's laugh, multiplied to infinity) in who we really are without the distraction and junk and baggage of the human experience, which is so apparent to those who look at us with human eyes. I believe that He sees first and foremost how beautiful and amazing and huge and gorgeous and light and powerful our spirits are, and longs for us to discover this and live worthy of who we really are.

After I tried, somewhat inarticulately to convey this idea, I came home and read "The Shack". To be honest, I have been actively avoiding this book for a long time for several reasons, I'm still not entirely sure what I think about it (I'm only about a 1/3 of the way in) but when I came across this passage I wish I'd had it to read to my girls today.

This is "Papa" (God) trying to explain human potential vs. human limitation:

"A bird's not defined by being grounded, but by his ability to fly. Remember this, humans are not defined by their limitations, but by the intentions that I have for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in my image".

This is why I want a close relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus, because only they know everything that it means to be created in His image. And they see me in that context. And they are amazing friends to have. I testify of that.

In a related vein.. In our Family Home Evening earlier this week I was talking to my kids about investing in these Divine relationships, even when our lives seem to be trucking right along without their help.

I asked them what it would be like if we had moved into our town, and because I feel quite content being just with my family, and because my husband is very helpful, and also fulfills my need for adult conversation and companionship, I decided that I was too self-sufficient to bother with cultivating any additional friendships and relationships. And what if I did not attempt to get to know anyone, I did not try to make friends, or reach out to serve and help others?

And then what if daddy got sick and had to get treatment at a hospital far away? And suddenly I really needed someone to help with the kids? But along with the pressure and grief of dealing with my husband and partner in life being very ill, and no longer available to help me, I also had to now suddenly strike up a relationship with a casual acquaintance and ask them to help me with my kids, maybe look after them for several days. That would be awkward. And stressful. To say the least.

Not to mention that this would not be a person that I would feel comfortable to use as a shoulder to cry on. It would be so lonely and sad. Comparing that scenario with what I know would happen now if such a situation should arise (heaven forbid). I have friends who I could call not just to help me logistically but to support me emotionally. People who I would be able to leave my children with knowing they would be comfortable and loved. It would make a horrible situation so much easier. I am so grateful for these friendships.

I wonder if I have invested as much time and energy in my eternal relationships? In the friendship with the One who has experienced all my pain and stress and has the ability to relieve me from these burdens? With the One who knows and believes in all I can be even though it might be impossible for those who know me in the human form to imagine? With the One who loves me more then anyone else ever could, who thinks more highly of me then anyone else ever will, regardless of what I do?

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Aaron B. said...


Thanks so much for that uplifting start to my day. You are wonderful! and amazing in your sense and understanding of the Divine. I'm a very lucky man (who will hopefully never get very ill).
Love you!

Carol said...

I am so impressed with your post. I too love the fact that Jesus lived amoung us, suffered like many and now he sees us like a mother to child or father to child.

When sad and lost in this termoil world we call home, home with Jesus is peaceful. I loved the Shack and fought it also. But learned that that too made me open my eyes.