By: Dennis Bates
Seven days from today the virtual relationship that Staci and I have developed will go to the next level, and if you wonder exactly what that means, join the club. So do I. We have had this cyber friendship for slightly more than a year now, published my first book, started a regular blog and probably logged enough gigabytes of emails to choke most of the older computers.
But we have never met face to face. In fact, we have only spoken in real time once when I said hello to her on a conference call after she gave a talk to a Christian women’s group. I wasn’t even home at the time. My wife and I were spending the night in a motel in Sikeston, Missouri, and I was on my cell phone.
But all of that is going to change next Tuesday. My Texas friend has a wedding to attend in the great state of Iowa, and she is going to visit my wife and I for a few days before driving the 45 miles from where we live to the city where the wedding takes place.
I don’t mind telling you that it is with some sense of fear and trepidation that we anticipate her visit. I have been around people who thought they were important most of my life, dealing with fairly high level generals and politicians. But Staci is important because she’s my friend, and I value that friendship tremendously.
But see, it’s one thing to have a friendship from afar, to hide behind a computer keyboard, to be able to revise and edit the things you say before you communicate them. It’s another thing to sit next to someone and let them see and hear you unedited and unfiltered. You don’t sound nearly as witty; you can’t be nearly as clever, and you don’t sound nearly as profound.
There’s no way to hide your blemishes or to sound skinny, when you actually make the scale go almost all the way around. (I have an older scale, just so you know; they don’t go as high as the new ones do, but they go far enough!) She’s going to see and hear the real me. She’s going to watch everything I do and know more about how I do it, and I just hope it doesn’t disillusion her too much, if she has any illusions left to dis.
That’s scary enough because I really, truly want her to think well of me, but think about it for a minute. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit aren’t coming next Tuesday. They are already here. They already know everything there is to know about you, about me, including those things we think we’re hiding in the deepest places of our hearts.
You can hide those things from most people, including yourself, but God already knows them; he already knows what your real weight is, not the one you give them to put on your driver’s license. (Okay, so I fudged a little.) God knows what makes you angry, what frightens you and what you really think. He knows it all and then some.
But He loves us anyway. He cares. And He may be disappointed with us sometimes, but He is never disillusioned about who we are because He made us, and He knows what we can become if we stay faithful to Him.
So I guess I don’t need to be afraid to meet my good friend Staci for real because God knows all about her too, and He loves her just like He loves me and all the rest of you, and that is just so awesome!
I’m looking forward to your visit Staci. It will be great to finally meet you face to face, and we have an awfully lot to talk about. I hope you aren’t too disappointed, and, oh yeah, I will share anything with you, pray with you and talk about all the great issues of the day. I may even try to convince you to vote Democratic, but I will not tell you how much I really weigh, no matter how good of friends we are.
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