How are you? I’m well.
Imagine if you should live in an uninhabited island and could bring only one person between a servant and a friend of yours, who would you pick up?
I used to hope that I would like to be the servant of the Lord on the throne, being close to Him in eternity. I do not demean the servanthood at all, but I also learned that our Lord is looking for His friends.
Neville Johnson wrote in his book, “Destiny and the Eternal Purposes of God” thus:
There has been much teaching on the role and position of the bondservant, which is necessary and good. However, this level of dedication and service to God must mature to another level, to that of “Friends of God”.
And he shared the story of when he had some excruciating pains on his back from an accident.
After a few days of this, a phrase that I had heard somewhere came constantly to mind: “Don’t waste your pain.” Along with that, a scripture from Colossians kept surfacing through the pain and establishing itself firmly in my thoughts:
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the Church. (Colossians 1:24)
I meditated on that scripture for a while trying to connect it to my painful circumstances. After a while, it seemed a veil lifted, and to a degree I understood what this scripture meant. I said to the Lord, “Lord, I don’t want to waste this pain, but if I can carry or alleviate some of your pain in carrying this, then I will do it.”
At that point, I saw the Lord. He was standing at my bedside and tears were rolling down His cheeks. I asked, “Lord what’s the matter?” He looked at me and said, “Very few of my children ever think of my needs.” The phrase stunned me. The Lord’s tears were tears of gratitude and the effect on me was as such that could not be described, I was undone. The pain in my back continued and even worsened for a few weeks, but I now knew that I was not wasting my pain. Shortly after this, He healed me. Does the Lord have needs? Yes. He has need of friends, and He has need of fellowship. He needs us to pray so that He can respond to our prayers. He has a need of us to seek Him, because only then can we find Him.
When I read Jesus’ dropping tears and saying, “Very few of My children ever think of My needs.” I felt my heart stirred inside. I couldn’t simply go to bed, after putting down the book, but I knelt down on the floor. I said to the Lord, “Lord, I set my heart to become Your friend. I set my heart to feel Your pains and groan for what You groan. I will pray with Your heart for those You groan.” I was reminded of the teaching that we must be very careful in our prayers, as they are all recorded. Although I would not know how much pain He has when He sees His Church and the lost sheep, I felt I should not avoid carrying His burdens and having His pains together. So, after this prayer, I spent some time for intercession. Strangely, since that night, I felt a little bit of backpain, which was not normal. More interestingly, when I texted my friend in Singapore and asked how she was, she said she had a bad backpain. I really do not know whether my backpain was part of sharing the burden and pain of the Lord toward His child, my friend in Singapore. Though my backpain was not serious, it continued for a few more days.
I would like to encourage you today to set your heart to become the friend of Jesus. He would appreciate your servanthood, but He would look for a friend to talk to, listen to and relate to, more than a servant. Would you be willing to rejoice with Him, feel His pains and carry His burdens? And would you be willing to look after His needs as He does to yours? I pray that you and I become His friends, like Enoch, Abraham and many others in the Bible, in Jesus’ name.
Have a bliss!
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:13~15)