what, a friend?

In his book, The Four Loves, C.S Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” Friendship is a favourite topic of mine that I reflect on often, but I have been confronted with how limited my understanding of it is. I have been a Christian and had a relationship with God for the larger part of my life. I have called him Lord, Father, Saviour, King and Friend without fully understanding what these aspects of his being really mean. Over the past three and a half years I have slowly but surely gotten to know God afresh and have learnt that as Neale Donald Walsch said, “You must be willing to suspend what you imagine you already know about God in order to know God as you never imagined.” At the moment we are building this friendship anew and it is adding immeasurable value to my survival.

In getting to know God as I never imagined I have seen things that had weighed on me, like seemingly unshakeable burdens, slip away. In the midst of this process when a sense of loss at times overshadowed my newfound freedom I needed constant reminders that, in the words of C.S Lewis, there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind. Or as Lewis describes it in Mere Christianity, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

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