Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is God really an intimate friend or a taskmaster?

Does anybody wonder with me why some friends last for six months and are gone? That has formed the basis of my story.
Does it occur to you in your wildest imagination why God would appeal to some as a cosmic figure, a mystery being with no resemblance and no face, an old orthodox story, a miserable law giver, a gigantic taskmaster and a Santa Claus that drops off seasonally to deposit gifts to the people he is partial to. It really just occurred to me that that makes man believe in the non existence of a God that created the heavens and the earth…I pondered today and I write.
And if it has ever struck your mind if God can be a friend of more than six month to an eternal intimate perhaps romantic lover, please come with me lets dig the ever living archive that never grows dusty or molds, but last for generations yet unborn. And as we dig, we will consult with the greatest of all friends of God, Abraham and he will tell us what earned him a bosom in Heaven.
Does God really deserve to be called a trusting friend and not a truce breaker?
Please come with me…

Today God showed me what it means to be a true friend.
I have different categories of friends some I call the “hi- hi” friends, some are “paddy mi”, I have acquaintances, colleagues, partners, etc. But I have very “dear to my heart” friends whom I am extremely vulnerable to. They are those friends that know my mischief, my seriousness in fact the can read me like a book. They are friends I long to see every day, talk to, of me cry with, laugh and play all manner of games with. In my little experience, I’ve categorized my friends to a point where each friend knows the what I call peripheral side of me, the other side could be a degree or two and my very intimate friend knows deep into me –they see my bones. I have myriad of friends whom like Jesus I have streamlined to twelve, then the three and one.
I have friends I am accountable to; I can share my dreams, aspirations, failures, regrets and mistakes with without a feeling of betrayal, mockery, competition and oppression. If you would agree with me, some friends are somewhat oppressive, competitive and treacherous. Most so called friends constantly carry hatchets to hack down their friends. Most times these “hackers” want to stay on top of everybody and everything and hate being out classed. Some are like task masters; they constantly suppress and make their friends look like subordinates. Still these taskmasters are like “she who must be obeyed”. They love smelling “approval addicts” and sycophants around them. They’re afraid of anothers achievement…
As much as the human factor is involved, man is fallible –there is no flawless friend-, but there are exceptions to the rule of friendship. I can boast in my circle of lovers cum friends.
Most of us can’t confide in anybody because we haven’t identified trusted, intimate friendship. How sad that could be for no man is an Island. Each person needs a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Above all, one truly beats them all and that could only be GOD!
If as secretive as I am I have trusted earthly friends who are temporal, how much more the Eternal God?
I cherish my circle of friends such that God knows I adore most of them because they share a greater part of my life. If I hold man in such high regard, where would I place God?
I consulted with Abraham and he revealed the secret behind his bond, confidence and friendship with God.
Abraham knew how to tickle God with obedience. God would issue Instructions- even though some were extremely painful and sacrificial like parting with his family, leaving comfort zone for the unfamiliar and trying to sacrifice his only son- and he would obey at all cost.
Abraham also taught me the secret of God’s approval, BELIEVE! Have you met a gray haired man fast approaching the grave in this age and time still longing to have children? If I met him, I’d say; “Baba abeg go rest, handover the mantle to the young men.” That was Abraham’s heartfelt desire. He had faith and believed the promise of a son at old age. That pleased God so much that he was called righteous.
Abraham revealed to me God’s requirement for everyone he –God-wants to call a friend. He said to me; Enobong God needs you.”He said I gave God my time, I conversed with God, we used to gist like mates. He said God confided in me, he told me about the future, my descendants, the honor I would be accorded from generation to generation and I was the first he told about the destruction of Sodom. He said I had a will and a life but God was involved in my decision making. He said I was in love with God.
Have you seen a worshiper? ‘Ape Abraham’. He knew when and where to build altars…he built on his job, in his home, on his journey, as he feasted, at the coming of his son, etc.
Abraham “bribed” God with a tenth of his goods; he knew how to entertain strangers that could turn out as angels of God. All of these earned him God’s favor, trust and confidence.
Abraham wasn’t a flawless man as he made very grave mistakes like carrying ‘Lot the baggage’ with him, deceiving Pharaoh and Abimelech on account of his “sisterly” wife, Sarah and the gravest was sleeping with Hagar the slave girl. Yet God overlooked his weakness and blessed him. God truly honored him and made a father of nations.
If a man of like passion could have such access to God, and was further rewarded with the good things of life? Why not you and me? Was he a superman? No! Today we’re called Abraham’s children and we sing ‘Abraham’s blessings are mine’…. I love to be associated with him for God made him extremely successful and rich. He had all the things we scramble and run from pillar to post for.
Do you know the secret behind Abraham and God? INTIMACY!

I’m in the school of learning intimacy and I believe God is helping me learn fast. God told me, “If only men will make me a friend, then every other thing they need, I will give”. Scripture says; “Seek first the kingdom –go about doing God’s thing not activity- and every other thing- the car, house partner, etc- will be added unto you.”
For many reasons I feel Paul said; “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” because he perceived that men see God as less than He is. I came up with the fact that God’s kingdom is about God and is God Himself. Through this word in-my context- God showed me that he is not only a life giver, gift shop, donor, a spare part shop, a food provider and a cash dispenser like an ATM people hurry to for urgent cash or an “On the Run” eatery for quick food. God is much more than all of the above. Yes he is the healer, provider, safety, giver, the actor and the likes. But God has many more sides much deeper than we see in church and everyday life. He supersedes the earthly husband, the lover man, girlfriend and companion. He wants partakers and friends of his kingdom.
Our earthly friends and lovers are a type of who God longingly desires to be with his people. God wants to be an intimate “romantic” (if you permit me) lover, a bosom friend involved in everything we do. He wants to bear our secrets, he wants to confide in us and we confide in Him. He wants more than most of us see Him as. He has never been the huge man bearing a whip trying to force laws down our throats; He is a darling friend with tender mercies and unending love.
The problem God has with us is that all we need from Him are the benefits. So many really don’t go to God to love him, praise him, talk and wait on Him, we keep asking and begging and acquiring! God in His mercy will not stop providing but beyond that ask yourself, “Does He reveals deeper things? Can He confide in me like he did to Abraham?” How many sides of God have you seen like Moses, Abraham, the disciples, Paul, John of Patmos, etc who saw God in His fullness and received deep revelation from Him? God knows some of us are too comfortable with the “manna and quail”, the “Baba I want…”prayer, “sharp-sharp, kpa kpa-kpa” quick fix God.
Today, God used an analogy to teach me… he likened Himself to a friend I’ll call Alice. Alice was once a “Hi friend” then we became gist partners. I enjoyed her conversation as we kept talking daily so I longed to have Alice around me. Friendship grew out of one meeting. My first meeting with Alice was peripheral but with continuous meetings I warmed up to her. After a careful study, I believed I could trust her so I let her know more about me. We became inseparable friends; we knew our private lives, our families, our strengths and weaknesses. We confidently shared our secrets with each other. One day’s conversation led to intimacy. Even though we are miles away, we long to see ourselves, talk on the phone, and write to each other. The deeper the friendship grows, the closer we are. We understand ourselves and read each other like a book- we know most of our needs and desires. We pray and bear each others burden. We try not to offend or hurt each other. We celebrate and adore each other.
Alice knows about my bank account, my investments and most treasured items.
My love for Alice has nothing to do with what she brings to the table, but about her person and vice versa. Money and material things have never been the priority. It took time to build the friendship yet we are best of friends today
I love Alice so much…
As Alice is to me, God wants to be a hundred percent more…

Also, the first time I came to God, I virtually let him into my living room. I was still mechanical and careful with letting him in. God used to feel like a hard task master filled with rules and laws. But as I grew in Him, I let him into other parts of my apartment then I showed Him my room. I gave into Him and took him everywhere in my house including my junk room. Like my apartment, I gradually let God into most parts of my life- every day. God began to teach me he is no BOSS in our friendship, he said; I no longer call you my servant, but my friend. I lay down my life for you to have it in full measure. I am not a “hacker” or a slave driver, I am a lover just waiting to hear and have you always…what a dear loving Father. The closer we are with God, the deeper our knowledge of Him.
Just as God revealed everything to Abraham, God wants our relationships with Him to grow a level where He draws out His plans for our lives, jobs, even the city and nation we live in He will reveal the future, he will instruct and guide, he will also warn and reprimand.
But the pain of such intimacy is diligence, sacrifice, dedication not to works and activity but to Him. He will demand a lot from us, we will need to shed weights –ask a fat person fighting to shed off weight how painful it is to lose fat- it will require our time, our comfort and almost everything we so cherish (including sleep). If it requires time and hard work to build lasting relationships with people, then God deserves more…I am learning!
Some men and women have found this path to God and God denies them nothing. Over years of sacrifice, they have built and are still building intimacy with God. They dig into the mind of God, they search out his purpose for existence, and they take pains to trail His path. Most of them know what will happen ten twenty years from today because they search deeper. They yearn for the secret place. And these men most of us idolize today. These men have touched the heart of God and are still going into deeper romance with God till the leave this earth. Do they have a special gift we cannot have? Are they super heroes? No! Does God want a select few? No way.
God also taught me that Abraham was one friend who desired Him more than what He could receive from Him. That is why the later looked forward to a city whose builder is God- Heaven.
Examine you: why do you love God, why do you pray? Why would you take the pains to run to church and engage in all those activities you do? I can answer for what I have grown to see- I have been a church girl for years- among God’s people. Most people are interested in that side of God that spills out benefits, works, miracles and pursues demons- the by-products. They cannot take the pains to know God, they are satisfied with a particular level so they leave the super heroes to consult God for them and these ‘superheroes’ will always look more advantaged because they hold the secrets most people do not have. And that is found in the secret place.
God wants us to experience the purpose for creation which begun from the Garden of Eden till the year of the Economic crunch and beyond: Fellowship and Intimacy. That is God’s heart beat. The deeper we grow in God, the easier it is to access God and surely the benefits will follow but that must never be the priority. God wants us.
Let me assure all that God is not slow in rewarding diligence, he will never with hold good from his loved and trusted friends. If an earthly lover and friend like Alice can share her money and possession with me, how much more a loving Father? He did same for Abraham; he is doing for most men and women who have sought God deeply why not you?
I long to romance God, I long to know Him deeper than I do, I long to be His bosom friend, I desire intimacy. I see that the deeper place reveals hidden secrets and treasures.
God cannot be mocked my dear! He knows the heart and longings of every man and he will only open the hidden treasure to those that come up higher. God will ONLY unravel top secrets to the available, the desperate, the wanting, the thirsty and hungry. He revealed Himself to Moses alone and to the Israelites; he gave the food and water. The former was privy to eternal things because He longed for depth and he sought for it desperately and the latter sought after perishable things because they really did not want the stress of going unto the mountain to seek God. Who was most popular and who does the whole world identify with? Moses.
He knows His own and no good thing will He the Lord with hold from them. God publicizes his friends when He is sure he can confidently entrust them with work, responsibility and most times leadership. The beginning of the journey may seem, demanding, grueling, lonely, and unfruitful but the end is glorious. Ask Abraham and Moses.
My friends, which path will you tread? Won’t you come along let’s dig deeper into God?