In every generation, God has had some individuals He called "friends." We find in Exodus 33:11, this about Moses, The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
How did Moses get to that relationship? His birth was a miracle because the Pharoah had announced an edict that all Israelite baby boys were to be killed at birth. He was found in a basket in the water where the princess bathed, and she adopted him, hiring his natural mother as the nurse. Moses grew up in the palace and got the best Egyptian education and training for leadership.
But one day he saw an Egyptian taskmaster beat an Israeli labourer and he killed the taskmaster and buried him. This got out, so Moses fled into the desert. There he stayed forty years, marrying a shepherdess, and had two sons.
One day forty years later, God spoke to Moses through a burning bush that did not burn up. There God commissioned Moses to go deliver His people and lead them back to their promised land.
The stresses of leadership must have driven Moses to consult with God on a daily basis, and that is where their friendship really began to grow and thrive.
Isn't it that way with most of our friendships? We meet someone casually and realize that we have some respect or admiration for one another, but it isn't until we go through some hardship together that we truly appreciate and develop deeper bonds with a friend.
This is not to demean God to a lower-case friendship. There are several levels to a friendship, and a relationship with God is of the highest order, but as with any good friendship, it must be developed, and it grows best in adversity.
To apply this more practically, when we want to get closer to someone it would be a good idea to plan an adventure together with the person we want to bond to in a deeper way. There are some mentoring organizations that use this deliberately. When a mentor and merea (the friend to be mentored) are paired, they plan a trip such as white-water rafting, or whatever would appeal to both, and spend a weekend or even a week or two traveling and working together towards the same goal. They will need to trust and rely on each other to get through it, and this will draw them closer emotionally and spiritually.
There's an idea! If you want a more workable relationship with your teen-age son or daughter, plan an adventure for just the two of you. If you want a stronger marriage, then you would try this with your spouse.
If you should want to understand God's will and ways better, you might plan a project that will throw you upon Him in more intense reliance - and also give you plenty of opportunity for prayer and reading of the Bible. (Personally, I take a prayer retreat whenever there is a holiday when I can spend alone with God).
Any friendship will benefit from seasons of intense quality time spent together. Use this truth for your ultimate good, and for your friend's too.
[Note: if you missed any articles in this series and want to read them, you'll find them all linked from this index which is about Friendship These articles have first appeared in the RoseBouquet bog/ezine and RSS feed].
My novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, and this related site have a Friendship theme. By getting to know and follow around the heroine, Ruthe, you can learn a lot about friendships, and that there is one that is the golden key to enriching all your other friendships and making them more satisfying. The site is more like a perfumed poupouri of articles and pages on that theme, and I've started a series on the friendships we observe in the Bible and what practical insights we can gain for our own friendships by thinking about them
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