About three years ago, I could only have described my relationship with God as “frustrating.” During this season, whenever I heard people talk about intimacy with God, my gut reaction was anger and judgment.
First, I was angry that whatever they meant by “intimacy,” I didn’t have it. So, what do you do when someone has something you want, but you can’t seem to have it? You judge them, right? Is that just me? 😛 I did judge them, saying things like, “they’re probably overly emotional nancy-boy Christians. Those kinds of Christians who make the faith all about how they feel. They probably checked their brain at the door of the church before they came in!” Ouch, it hurts to read that, but it was true.
At the same time, I’d judge myself. I knew deep down, my problem wasn’t with them. I knew something was wrong with me. And I remember so vividly, as I wrestled in prayer, that all of a sudden, out loud, without trying to make it sound nice, I said, “Father, I’m pretty sure that you love me…I just don’t think you like me very much.”
I had finally gotten to the heart of what I had been struggling with. I had, without realizing it, always felt that God was just putting up with me. And I was grateful…but I really wanted more. I didn’t want to just feel tolerated. I wanted communion with God. I wanted to experience and believe, deep down, that He loved me.
So, that was an ah-ha moment about myself, but I still wasn’t sure what that meant about God, until finally I was confronted with this question: “Justin, just who do you think I am? What must I be like, to be a god who merely tolerates His children? How low of a view of me do you have?”
And that discovery is at the heart of this little blog series. You see, there is a direct connection between your view of God and the richness of your fellowship with Him, between your understanding of Jesus and how you feel about him.
- What you believe about him will affect whether you pray, when you pray, how you pray
- What you think and feel to be true about him affects what you think and feel in the midst of blessing, and even more, in the midst of suffering
- What you know to be reality about God determines what your life is like when it seems that your prayers are going unanswered
And that should make sense. We know, or should know, that prayer isn’t this sort of activity that we master, like hitting a baseball, or computer programming, or knitting a scarf. Right? It’s relationship; it’s communion! Think about another important relationship in your – your spouse, parent, friend, co-worker, etc. If what you believe about their character is faulty, how big of a difference would that make in your relationship. If you believed that your spouse loathed you, that your boss wanted to fire you, that your kid thought you were a cotton-headed ninnymuggin…those beliefs would affect your relationship, especially if they are untrue! Right?
Think how much more this is true about God! So, I hope that the next few posts help us clarify both what he is like AND what that means for us!