I don’t remember where I was, but I was attending a conference of some type. Let’s say it was Milwaukee. My wife was with me and we had the afternoon free, so we decided to stroll around a bit and we saw a huge charter bus (as if there are small ones) with a bus-length “Discover Card” graphic on the side. There was a welcome mat kind of thing at the door, and someone standing there obviously waiting for someone like me to stroll by. And since I can’t possibly turn down a guided tour through anything, let alone a huge luxury cruise bus, I walked right up and walked right in.
As soon as I entered the mammoth vehicle I was immediately whisked away to a land where the fridge is stocked with glass bottle Coca-Cola, where chocolates are found by the basketfuls, and where Discover card hats are free for the taking.
I made my way along the center aisle/corridor of this behemoth bus and looked through to the back of the bus and saw a dude sitting at a table. I didn’t know the dude, but I thought, “I guess that dude is somebody.” What gave it away was his debonair looks repeated on the stack of 8×10 inch glossies he had of himself. Next to the glossies was a bunch of Sharpie markers; presumably so the dude could write his autograph on the glossy and give it to people like me. This guy was set. He had a sweet luxury bus to hang out on, he had all the Coca-Cola he could dream of, he had a stack of hats, glossies, and markers, and he even had a flat-screen tv to watch sports on (which is what he was doing when I entered the room).
Before I could even take it all in, he looked over to me as I entered, grabbed a glossy,and scribbled his autograph while asking generically, “What’s your name?” and “How you doin’ today?” He handed me my glossy, I took a few more Cokes and hats, and I made my way back to the front of the bus.
As I stepped off the bus, I looked down at the photo in my hand. It was a picture of a professional hockey player that looked a lot like the dude; kind of one of those “in action” photos that was probably staged, but you’re not quite sure because he’s the only one in the picture, skating aggressively on some ice. In the lower corner of the photo, I read “To my friend, Jerry”
We can view God like that sometimes. We come into His presence, aware of the fact that He’s got some power (like my “friend” on his bus), aware that we should probably recognize who we’re talking to, but often feeling rather distant–or even foreign–to the idea of a true “friendship” with Him, despite the fact that if we really knew who we were dealing with, we would gush with excitement, unable to contain ourselves.
And perhaps when we find that our worship of God is weak, we can often trace it to the reality that we don’t really recognize who this God is. We don’t have any kind of discernible friendship with Him. Imagine if that hockey player really was my friend. Imagine if I had known exactly who he was, that we had a history, and that we had plans to hang out later that day; after the whole Discover card promo bus gig was over. I certainly wouldn’t have approached the bus as pensively as I had. I would have bounded on, shouting my friend’s name, confident that he was in there and that me stopping by would make his day.
Have you ever thought, “I’m going to be spending some one-on-one time with God later on. We’ve got plans.” When I think about a date with my wife happening sometime this week, I have a hard time concentrating on the work I have to do in front of me. I just about want to jump up on my desk, grab the hands of the clock on the wall, and spin them around and around in an effort to bring the time of our date closer. Do I do that with God? Do we think about grabbing a cup of coffee with our Creator this afternoon? Do we see Him as close friend or unfamiliar celebrity?
As you read this today, I’d pray that in your near future, you’d have an opening in your schedule that would allow you to meet up with God somewhere and spend some time with Him. Let that meeting encourage you, refuel you, and set your soul ablaze with a passion for an intimate friendship with Him.