What does it mean to have a relationship with an all-powerful, all-knowing, invisible God? The Bible presents a series of metaphors, each of which says something – but not everything – about connecting with our Creator. They range from the very simple to the unimaginably intimate.
Jeremiah declares that God is the potter and we are the clay. Peter adds that God is the builder and we are the living stones He is using to construct a new temple, with Jesus as the cornerstone. Christ draws a botanical picture where he says that He is the vine and we are the branches.
Jesus says that we are workers in God’s harvest fields. We are soldiers serving in his ranks. We are servants in God’s household. On more than 30 occasions, the apostle Paul ratchets up the intimacy by declaring that we are Christ’s body, while he is the Head.
But the tenderness starts to become breathtaking when we ponder the Bible’s family metaphors.
The book of Hebrews states Jesus is not ashamed to call us His siblings. And Romans 8 tells us that we are God’s adopted children – spiritual orphans invited to sit at His kitchen table for the rest of our lives. Most amazing of all, God has invited us into marriage. We are more than just workers or apprentices or sheep. We are the Bride of Christ.
No other religion on Earth has dared to suggest such metaphors.
There’s one other notable picture of our connection to Christ – one that has unique power. It is spotlighted in a hymn written by a native of Ireland named Joseph Scriven, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear…”
In John 15:15 Jesus tells His disciples, “I call you My friends.” There are times in life – and we must say this with great care – that we don’t need God so much to be our Rock, our Shepherd, or even our Father. We need a friend. A friend is someone who walks with us. Who listens without judgment. Who laughs at our jokes, puts up with our strange habits, and delights to hear our voice.
What does it mean to have a relationship with an all-powerful, all-knowing, invisible God? It means we have a Friend like no other.