Some of my most vivid memories come from the days of being on the lake. I can remember catching stripe bass as fast as I could cast but I can also remember being scared to death because I had not left early enough to beat the lightning storm. It seems we always think there’s enough time for one more cast. As I got older I began to value my life more. Now if there’s a storm within a hundred miles, I leave. There’s just something about holding a graphite rod in my hand in the middle of a lake that doesn’t sit well with me. Most of my memories, however, are good. They include days on a bass boat, a pontoon, and even wading. What all of them have in common is that the greatest moments were shared with a friend. It was with these friends that I learned to eat potted meat, Vienna Sausage and Beanie Weenies. This is stuff we never eat any other time. I have learned, if you’re fishing with a friend, it’s ok to hold a bologna sandwich with the same hand that just lipped that big bass. (In case you didn’t know, there are no germs on the lake.) Yes, friends are what I like about fishing. I don’t have to be anything but who and what I am. 

All of my life I have heard about the characteristics of God. He has many titles that give evidence of those characteristics. He is known primarily as father. He is called man’s deliverer, sustainer, provider, and protector. All of these have special significance for special times in each of our lives. When I’m scared I need him to be my protector. When I’m broke I need him to be my provider. But of all the titles and characteristics of God, my favorite is that he is a friend. And not only a friend but a friend to anyone who wants him to be. When God became flesh through the person of Jesus, he proved this unique desire. Of Jesus, it was written, “He is a friend of sinners.” Wow! Not just a friend, but a friend to those who don’t measure up to the standards of perfection. Which is me! Which is you! Which is all of us.

I hope one of the pictures you have of God is a friend. If it’s not, you’re going to miss out on a lot of good times and good memories being with someone who accepts you for who you are. 

Gary Miller       

Gary has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations