My Friend Jesus
From a very young age, I knew that I was loved by someone outside of my family and friends and that He had my back no matter what. I saw Jesus as my friend and biggest advocate.
Around this time, I used to have a diary and each entry would begin with the classic “Dear Diary” letter opening. As I grew older, writing my innermost thoughts and feelings to my diary felt meaningless and empty. What’s the point? Why does my diary care about what happened in my day or who I was crushing on? The feeling of not being listened to started to really bother me so I stopped journaling for a while. In High School, when my faith started to become more my own, I began journaling again but this time my writing audience switched. I no longer wrote to my diary but I wrote to someone who actually cared; God. This simple switch of perspective changed my entire purpose for writing because now I was writing to a person instead of my inanimate diary. I began to write out my praises and prayers in addition to all the sappy teenage journal stuff. I believe that God wants to hear it all, so I gave it all to Him. This was when I began to view Jesus as an invested friend rather than an all-powerful distant deity. My reverence for Him stayed the same, but there was now a foundation for a relationship that I could actively participate in. Our relationship became a two-way street as I began to pursue Him.
As a very shy teenager outside of my family and close friends, the idea of letting my light shine and sharing my faith verbally was always terrifying to me. It felt like I had to have the right words or I would mess things up and turn people further away from Jesus. So, I chose to let my light shine in a more subtle way. I chose to be kind and model Christ-like qualities whenever possible. I strongly believe that through our example, we can share Jesus wherever we are and in whatever we do without even mentioning His name. If you live like Christ, people will notice a difference as they see God work in your life. Studies have proven that you begin to think and act like those with who you surround yourself, so without saying Jesus’ name you can begin to have an influence that will help create a relationship in which you are comfortable to share your faith. Similarly, I have found that the more time I spend with Jesus, the more like Him I become. No matter what I do, as long as I do my best to shine my light, that is all that matters.
“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God cannot do”. These words have gotten me through many difficult times that seemed to have no light at the end of the tunnel. A true friend will be there throughout every season, not just when it’s easy. I view Jesus as a friend and I believe that He is able to overcome any obstacle. These beliefs together make me feel that I have someone beside me fighting for me during all of life's challenges. In John 11:35, Jesus lost his friend Lazarus and wept for him, even though he knew Lazarus would come back to life. I believe God will weep with us even though he sees the purpose behind each of our pains. God loves me and he is there for me no matter what happens. He is my biggest advocate and he wants me to succeed in following the purpose He has set before me.
Throughout my life, I have seen my relationship with God kept me on the right track. Because I have seen Him as a friend, He has been more approachable and relatable. I know I can depend on Jesus because He loves me and I know He has the power to help me when I share my worries with Him. God has proven Himself over and over to me as a faithful friend who is always by my side. Jesus loves me. This I know.
By Pastor Mandy VanHolsbeck