When we were kids, summers were synonymous with swimming lessons, Vacation Bible School, camp-outs, and sleepovers. Some summers, our cousins from a neighboring state came to visit us for a couple of weeks. Likewise, my brothers, sister, and I would take turns spending a couple of weeks with them. They loved the freedom of the country and the adventures of the farm. We loved the pavement of the city and the adventure of the mall. It was a change.
One summer, my sister and I were up for our trip. I was ten; my sister was eight. Our trip happened to coincide with their church’s Vacation Bible School. I loved VBS and looked forward to attending with my cousin. Upon arriving, the director seated us in the fellowship hall filled with freshly chilled metal folding chairs.
We sat on the front row. The opening exercises consisted of the “get to know ya” time and the director looked over the youthful crowd for new guests. She suddenly stopped directly in front of my chair, bent over at the waist to address me at eye level and very pleasantly asked, “Are you a friend of Lisa’s?”
In a moment of bashful brilliance I quietly replied, “We’re not friends; we’re just cousins.”
My cousin and I still laugh about that to this day!
What in the world was I thinking? I mean, it made perfect sense to me. After all, we were cousins…first…right? Okay, let’s face it. I wasn’t thinking. I was ten.
Truly, Lisa and I were more than “just cousins”; we were great friends. She had the most contagious laugh and the cutest sense of humor. We had a lot of fun together. In addition, she had a southern drawl that kept us all totally entertained, as if we “Okies” did not have one of our own.
I have heard it said, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives.” True statement for sure, but it is a double blessing when blood relatives are good friends. So what a privilege it is to be chosen by the Maker of heaven and earth to be His child, joint heir with Christ, His sister, as well as His friend.
Jesus and I are more than just Brother and sister; we are best friends. He is the One I count on when life places me front row and center in the frigid fear of adversity. He’s my Counselor when difficulty and uncertainty paralyzes my mind and body from any sense of rationale. He is my Helper, coming along side to comfort and strengthen me in moments of weakness. (John 14:16)
Above all, He is our Mediator when Sin separated us from a holy God.
“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:1, 2a).
Jesus is our Advocate who pleads our case before God, and intercedes for us as we confess our sins.
“And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
What a privilege it is to carry everything to the throne room of grace each time we go to Him in prayer. (Heb. 4:16) How often have we forfeited our peace simply because we tried to carry our burdens ourselves rather than trusting our Greatest Friend with them?
Jesus says, “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
Oh, I love that! Yes, what a friend we have in Jesus, our Refuge, our Shield, our ever-present help in time of trouble. (Ps. 46:1) There is none other like Him. Come to Him today. He will be a Friend for Life--abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."You are My friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:13, 14).