A FRIEND­SHIP EN­COUNTER

Activated - - NEWS - John Ran­dall is a lay min­is­ter, wood crafts­man, and writer cur­rently liv­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, USA.

My day in­vari­ably be­gins with tak­ing my jet-black poo­dle for her morn­ing walk, an ac­tiv­ity which is high on her list of pri­or­i­ties. We have a reg­u­lar route which takes us about 10 min­utes to com­plete.

Just as we’re set­ting out on this warm July morn­ing, I re­mem­ber that we’re out of or­anges, so I de­cide to al­ter our reg­u­lar route and in­stead head for the Carmelite mis­sion that sits rel­a­tively se­cluded atop a small hill. The mis­sion sells or­anges for a cou­ple of dol­lars a bag.

As we make the trek up the long cir­cuitous drive that wends its way through the or­ange groves, I no­tice a sign with fad­ing let­ter­ing pro­claim­ing, “Prayer is noth­ing else than be­ing on terms of friend­ship with God.— Teresa of Ávila.”

I say a hearty af­fir­ma­tion to this beau­ti­ful mes­sage and pur­chase my bag of or­anges.

Shortly there­after, the dog fed and my or­ange juice made, I’m ready for my morn­ing de­vo­tional time. I crack open my de­vo­tional book, and my eyes fall on the chap­ter ti­tle, “Lis­ten­ing prayer is friend­ship with God.” That got my at­ten­tion!

Coin­ci­dence? No, I don’t think so. I’ve known God long enough to re­al­ize that He’s try­ing to tell me some­thing. He had me no­tice that lit­tle mis­sion sign be­cause it re­lated to what He wants to speak to me about to­day.

And it’s not as if God sin­gled out this day out of the blue to sud­denly start talk­ing to me ran­domly about this topic, but as He of­ten does, there have been gen­eral un­der­cur­rents, lit­tle im­pres­sions and in­ci­dents, along the way of late. To­day has been only a fur­ther fine-tun­ing, a fur­ther crys­tal­liza­tion.

What kind of things have I learned on this jour­ney? Among oth­ers that the deep long­ing that we all ex­pe­ri­ence, the alone­ness that finds par­tial ful­fill­ment in our earthly com­pan­ion­ships, is only com­pletely ful­filled in re­la­tion­ship with God.

Friend­ship is iden­ti­fy­ing in thought and spirit with some­one, and as we de­velop a lis­ten­ing, com­muning, in­ter­ac­tive re­la­tion­ship with God, we’re able to en­ter into true friend­ship with Him.

We can choose to be children of God, yet live very dis­tant from God in our hearts. On the other hand, we can choose to have the clos­est part­ner­ship with Him, in which we know what He thinks, be­lieves, and acts and what is im­por­tant to Him. In this place of in­ti­macy, we also dis­cover just how close He wants to be with us.— Theresa Ded­mon

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