I know many of you folks that read my blog aren’t big Jesus fans. You must wonder what on earth I go on and on about sometimes. It’s just that…well…we go way back, Jesus and I. I could for the sake of political correctness pretend I don’t think he’s real or significant, and talk about him in a theological or theoretical way to indicate I’m not a religious nutcase or a member of a cult. But I won’t be doing that. Jesus and I made friends when I was very young, and we are still friends despite everything.
I should point out that he’s the one who’s been the good friend, not me. I’ve been relentless in dialogue, but not really a great friend, strictly speaking. I’ve been pretty hard on him at times: criticising him for his apparent shortcomings, being annoyed because he wouldn’t physically appear in front of me on demand…you know, just the usual friend stuff. I’ve dragged Jesus into some pretty questionable situations. For instance, I once insisted that he show up to help me not be molested by a trucker my friend and I had invited to stop by the side of the highway via a CB radio. Now three minutes before I was pretty much hoping Jesus was a million miles away. But the second I saw that trucker come around the front of my friends VW and make toward us, I wished Jesus would just pop out from under the hood with a pair of nun-chucks and go to work. Thankfully, we escaped the trucker, and Jesus never had to use his nun-chucks.
He must have gotten so tired of me in my teenage years. But unlike many others who had to put up with my antics, Jesus is still my friend, despite the fact he knows just how stupid I can be. And also unlike many others who had to tolerate my wild days, Jesus never ever brings it up in conversation. Thank God.
But despite our long standing relationship, there are times I still feel a little estranged from him. I know you must be wondering, how does someone feel estranged from a person you can’t see, hear or share a sandwich with? Well, all I can say to that is when you’re used to having someone around, someone who tells you cool stuff in your head, someone who’s life you’ve read about and studied, and who you think you understand and who you believe understands you, someone who you can’t help but respect and admire for the way he conducted himself when he was here having a shot at this life thing, and then suddenly you realise that person isn’t as much part of your life as they were a little while ago, it’s not a nice feeling. Like when I realise my husband and I haven’t kissed on the mouth for a while. Just – not right. And with Jesus, I always know who moved. It’s never Jesus that backs off.
I back off. I go away. I go inside. I go outside. I go off. I go around. I get busy. I get lazy. I get angry. I get suicidal. I become afraid. I become conceited. I have success. I have failure. I lose focus. I lose sleep. I get my period. I get a new friend.
And Jesus just waits. And eventually, I get back around to him, because I realise again he’s what’s missing.
So I’ve been really low this time. Really low. This time, it’s been harder, because all the stuff I usually use to prop myself up is gone. I’m unemployed. I’ve put the weight I lost last year back on again. We have no money in the bank. I have nothing to show for this year. But I did say that this year was not going to be a year for having something to show. This year was for Ben, to give him a chance to show. And it’s been good for that reason. But it’s been hard, having nothing to show. What we have to show is a marriage that works, and considering what we’ve been through, that’s a lot. But in the bigger picture, to the rest of the world we live in, that’s really the least we could do. A functional marriage shouldn’t be anything special, it should be a basic. So we are twenty two years married, and still just doing basics. It’s hard not to feel discouraged sometimes.
And so it’s in times like these I miss my friend.
So, my usual time to talk to Jesus is when I’m in bed, before I go to sleep. We might be there an hour, maybe a minute. I love that time, because its so quiet, and there’s no distractions or demands. I’ve nowhere to go, nothing to take my attention away. A few days ago, I asked him to talk to me. It’s been so long since I heard your voice, can’t you talk to me? How do I hear you? Where are you?
And Jesus said “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” 1 John 1: 1 and 2. I was there in the beginning Jo, outside of time, with God, back when it began. If I can be there with Him, then I can be here with you now. I was there, and I’m here.
The next night. Jesus. I want to feel you. I want to see you. How do I feel you, see you? I hunger for your substance, not just for your voice inside me. And Jesus said “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” 1 John 1:3. I made everything, Jo. Everything is here because of me. I was there with God at creation, making everything. You can hear me, see me, feel me. Listen. Look around you. Touch the things I’ve made. I’m here with you.
And I listened. I could hear rain falling into the creek just a few metres away outside our bedroom window. I could hear frogs and crickets speaking, singing. I could hear air moving the trees. I heard him. All of the things he made sounded just like him, sounded of him. When I listened for him, I heard him.
He is close. He’s always close. He speaks. He’s always all around. I don’t know how he talks to me the way he does, but he does. If you don’t believe, that’s okay. I don’t believe sometimes either. But even when I lose my grip on him he never loses his grip on me. I love Jesus. He’s a good friend.