Walking with a Friend
As a kid, my hero was Abraham, an old guy who left everything he knew to follow God. That is what I thought life would probably be – a long walk into the unknown.
Forty years later Claire and I attended a SEEK class at Reservoir. It affirmed the powerful hope of our childhood – God was not a rule-keeper with a stopwatch, but eager to walk with us as a friend. Jesus promised that we could be fully known and still fully accepted. And that’s how he encourages us to receive others.
The sermons at church are practical, with hints for actually trying it. After some about loving our neighbors, I began praying for a neighbor I knew only as “the angry man.” He seemed to scream at everyone. For days I asked Jesus how to meet him, how to actually talk with him, and what on earth to say.
Then I was awakened late at night by excessively loud music. Yes, it came from his car. “Jesus,” I thought, “are you suggesting something?”
So I went out in my bathrobe and slippers. Recognizing me, he lowered the window and turned down the radio.
“Hey, friend,” was all I could think to say, “you woke me up.” He was reserved. We talked a bit. He said he’d just lost his mother and wasn’t doing too good. I prayed for him – just a sentence – and asked him to pray for a problem I was having.
Now we greet each other as “Hey friend”, and when he occasionally acts out, I don’t feel so superior. Seldom is his music too loud. And I’m asking Jesus about next steps.
I’m now 75, like Abraham was when he began his journey. This winter Claire and I are going to take a several-month long unplanned walk through Central America. We’re counting on Jesus to be right there with us. But that’s a story for the future.