Bernard Mikulic – Croatia
When we think about our personal, intimate relationship with Jesus, sometimes our view on it can feel a little feminine – but don’t get me wrong! The Bible does describe our relationship with God as one of intimacy. It represents us as a ‘bride’ and Jesus as a ‘groom’. A bride is always full of emotions and her love language is compassion. Paul describes the fruits of intimate relationship with Jesus as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness… (Gal. 5:22, ESV). He lists many emotions and sometimes men find it hard to be confronted with them. For us, showing emotion is considered weakness because deep in our hearts, we see ourselves as warriors, heroes and so on. When I was a teenager, my mother constantly tried to befriend me with other Christians, in the hope they would help me grow in my faith. I remember those days very well, I always thought they were weaklings and unfortunately that brought in me an opposite reaction from what my mother hoped for. Back then, I wanted nothing to do with them. This raises a question: When we talk about personal relationship with Jesus, is this the only approach to it or is there a different one?
We can also look for depth in relationship with Jesus through friendship. Jesus says he calls us friends, and in his friendship, He won’t keep any secrets from us but instead he will show us his plans. There is a Korean saying which says that friends are two souls in one body. We are all longing and searching for that true friendship. Sometimes, we even find that in our everyday life, like David and Jonathan. But Jesus offers us deeper and more personal friendship than even those that we can can know with one another.
Friends have no secrets. Friendships are based on unconditional trust. You have that one person to whom you can reveal your most profound parts of life, even your deepest secrets, and you know that they won’t betray your trust or judge you but accept you for who you are. Friends like this will share their burden with you and you would do the same, “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt. 11:30, ESV). The burden of everyday life becomes easier because you don’t have to carry it on your own. And when your friend is Jesus, in every turmoil He brings peace, in every fear he brings faith.
He is the most powerful friend because he brings victory over every circumstance that you find yourself in. Often, we are facing problems bigger than we can handle – this is life! In the Balkans, when you are trying to resolve a problem, it is important to know the right people. Everything is easier if you have good connections. Knowing a powerful person who can fix anything, solve any problem, makes you feel powerful as well. Here, people say: you are who you are with. Jesus is a friend who always fights for you. In fact He has already won for you. You don’t want to let go of a friend like that, and He doesn’t want to leave you either. Jesus promises to be with you always, in every moment and in any situation.
God keep me safe from the thought that I can live without you. It is sad that sometimes we think we can live without Him and that we don’t need a friend like Him. Often, we like to choose our own path, and by doing that we often hurt ourselves. Jesus doesn’t just fight for us, He fights with us as well. A true friend won’t leave you if you are doing something against him or yourself, he would rather fight you because of it. Jacob wanted things to be in his own way and in his own time, so his friend wrestled him. Sometimes, an intimate relationship with Jesus is painful and frustrating. Not because He doesn’t love us or because He has abandoned us, but because He is fighting against our bad will. To fight with a true friend sometimes means to “die”, to die to our own will. Is it easy? No, it is not; but this is why Jesus has given his life – for a friend like you and me.