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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Friendship (04/04/05)

TITLE: He Calls Me Friend
By Hope Horner
04/10/05


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The last thing I would call God was “friend.”

As a child who spent every Sunday in Sunday School and every summer in Vacation Bible School, I learned to call Him “Savior”, “Lord”, even “Father”, but never “Friend.” I was taught to respect Him, praise Him, love Him, honor Him and sometimes even fear Him. But be friendly with Him? Never.

When I was 18, I went off to college in Southern California. As an independent, young adult, I was excited to be stepping out on my own, and I thought a lot about what my future might hold. I didn’t think much about God though. Like the popular Bette Midler song on the radio at the time, I felt like God was watching me “From a Distance.”

My first semester was tough. After a long week of finals, I agreed to go to dinner with one of my new college friends. He was a Christian, but we hadn’t talked much about our faith. As I rode in his car, he tuned the radio dial to a local Gospel station.

I am friend of God.
I am a friend of God.
I am a friend of God.
He calls me “friend”.

The song that blasted out from his tiny 40 watt speakers was simple. But as I sat there and listened to it, I grew increasingly confused. “How in the world could the Almighty God call me “friend”? He must have another name for me!” I thought sarcastically.

The song continued and so did my bewilderment.
He is thinking of me?
He is mindful of me?

As the song ended and we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, the words of the classic Christian poem “Footprints” popped into my head.

"The times when you see only one set of footprints in the sand—those are the times I carried you."

Even as a child, I had tried to picture God carrying me, but couldn’t. I still couldn’t picture it now. God picks me up when I am too weak to walk or too distraught to go on? The way I saw it, if I was weak or weary, God might cheer me on, but throw me over His shoulder and trudge through the sand?

I bought a CD with the song “Friend of God” on it later that week, listened to it a few times, then put it away and forgot about it. I got busy with passing my classes, graduating from college, and trying to find my place in the working world. I wandered through my 20’s without any interest in being “friends” with God.

But then one night when I was in my early 30’s and feeling nastalgic, I decided to take a peek at some of my old college mementos. I was curious to see if they had survived nearly ten years of neglect inside my damp, dark garage. I retrieved a box from the garage and plopped it down on my living room floor. The dry masking tape snapped easily beneath my fingers as I folded back the cardboard flaps. At the very top was the CD—dusty, but intact. I popped it into my stereo and sunk into my couch to listen.

I am a friend of God.
I am a friend of God.
I am a friend of God.
He calls me friend.

As the song played, the Holy Spirit spoke to me gently…

Remember when you heard this song all those years ago? That was me speaking to you--calling you, My friend.

And remember that day two years ago, when you were desperate and distraught, and your friend Ruth comforted you? That love you felt from her was MY love too, my friend.

Or last Sunday--the first time you went to church in ten years? I spoke those words through the Pastor—“Welcome MY friend, God loves you right where you are—just as you are.”

I rubbed warm tears out of my eyes as more and more memories were brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit. Finally, overwhelmed, I lifted my voice in prayer.

Oh Lord,

I see now that you are My Friend.

My Best Friend.

Thank you for being my Friend even when I pushed you away.

You were never distant.

Every step I’ve taken, you have always been right by my side.

And thank you, too, my lifelong Companion,

For those times you carried me.


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This article has been read 658 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dixie Phillips 04/11/05
What a testimony! Truly God made something BEAUTIFUL out of your life. HE is the BEST FRIEND we could ever have! Thank you for writing this! It touched my heart!
Sally Hanan04/11/05
This was beautiful.
Lori Othouse 04/11/05
A great example of how God constantly tries to get our attention...and never forgets about us. Great story!
Delores Baber04/13/05
This story is a testimony of the long-suffering patience of God. He waited years for you to see Him as He truly is, your friend. We often struggle with our concept of God because of past experiences and doctrines misapplied. Thanks for sharing that moment when the great and might God of glory became your friend.
Maxx .04/16/05
"...As the song played, the Holy Spirit spoke to me gently.."

I can totally relate to this line. Very nicely crafted. Thank you!
Lynda Lee Schab 04/18/05
Hope,
I enjoyed your testimony! The worship leader in my church - Michael Gungor - actually wrote this song, now sung by Phillips, Craig, & Dean. It's up for a Dove award! How cool is that!
Great job!
Love, Lynda
Hope Horner04/18/05
Lynda--Yes, that is the exact song I was thinking of when I wrote this story because it had such a powerful impact on me. (I LOVE PC&D!) Please tell Michael that this song has been a real blessing!
Thanks for your comments!