They provoked the Lord to anger. (Ps. 106:29)

THE PHONE RANG in the middle of the night. The voice I heard on the other end was loud and a bit belligerent. The words I heard were slurred, indicating that the speaker had been drinking. “Pastor Jimmy Loooo, I want you to come to my house right now! I want to talk with you about God.”

When I was ushered into the room where Harry sat, I discovered that I had been right about him being intoxicated. Under my breath, I prayed a simple prayer, “Lord, please help me and give me wisdom!”

During our conversation Harry blurted out, “I believe that there is a God. However, the god I believe in is different from the God you Christians believe in. Your God demands too much. My god is kind; he lets me do whatever I please, and he accepts me for who I am. He doesn’t require me to change, and he never gets angry. He doesn’t judge; he is my buddy.”

I often reflect back on that nighttime conversation. I do not disagree that God is our friend. In fact, He is closer to me than any earthly friend. However, He is more than just a friend. He is also our judge, and a day is coming when we will all meet Him face-to-face.

Rejoice that God is your friend, but don’t forget He is also your judge.

Jim Lo is the author of Connect with God: The Purpose of Prayer (WPH) and the dean of chapel at Indiana Wesleyan University.