“…and he was called God’s friend.” (James 2:23b NIV)
Those words resonated with me this morning. They speak of Abraham and his faith in God and the offering of Isaac his son. They speak of the belief and willingness Abraham displayed. They show the complete trust in God’s eternal wisdom Abraham demonstrated. It was Abraham’s excruciating decision to honor God that won him the title of friend.
I’m in energized mode this week. Our family is headed north where the air is cooler (and less humid) and the bugs are fewer. Along the way, we plan to stop and see my friend Carol. She was my neighbor for seven years and one of the best friends I have ever had. She is an eighty year old prayer warrior with a sense of humor. She was also my mentor and I love her dearly. I called her last week and we caught up. I told her we would be driving north and wanted to see her. She was excited, I was excited but when I hung up the phone I just cried. You see, Carol has Alzheimer’s. Most of what we talked about was repeated three or four times. She kept asking me if I was going to stop and visit her on our trip. She repeated the same stories over and over. When I got off the phone, I wondered how long it would be until she wouldn’t remember me at all. Honestly, it broke my heart.
I never considered myself God’s friend. I have thought of myself as His child but not a friend. A friend is someone who stays close by even when it’s hard. A friend is loyal, honest and open. A friend thinks the best of you even when your behavior is at its worst. A friend is faithful. God is loyal and honest. He has put up with my bad behavior and stayed close. He has done all of those things. But I have not. In fact, I have been kind of self-centered at times asking Him why He’s not performing as I ask. I haven’t been faithful either. So, why would God consider me a friend? Hmmm.
Earlier in that chapter James points out, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:22 NIV) Abraham was considered God’s friend because he believed in God. He trusted God. He had faith in God. Along with that, he did as God asked. He didn’t hold back. He was willing to give everything, including his only son. He didn’t just say he trusted God, he showed it. And God called him friend.
It makes me sad to think Carol will forget me someday. There will come a day when she will look at me with a blank stare knowing she’s supposed to remember me but doesn’t. God won’t do that. When I see Him face to face, He will remember. He won’t ever forget. He will welcome me with open arms because I am not only His child, I am His friend.