Tag Archive | intimacy with God

The Point of it All

Something happened to me today that changed everything.  Something I sort of knew shook loose from my head and slipped down through and got lodged deep inside my heart.  

That something was this.  Every single dream, every wish, each random longing, each fleeting fantasy, every daydream, each sadness, every hope, and the sum total of all the angst I feel, have felt, or will ever feel is no more than a simple expression of a singular truth.  My heart was meant to love God.

Desire justly recognized, understood, and set free turns like a heat-seeking missile toward God.  And in the turning it is transformed until sorrow and joy are stirred and churned and dissolved into a solution of hope and satisfaction and the heart pulls closer.

Trust me on this.  Set your pain free.  We know deep down that things are not what things were meant to be.  We grasp for love because God longs to draw us to Him.  We seek solace in food or drink or sex because God means to comfort us with divine compassion.  We hunger to be seen, sought after, or respected because God stamped His image on our souls and waits patiently to unveil His glory in us.

I saw God today.  I walked with Him.  And for a moment it all made sense.

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Unexpected Grace

I went to the river to find beauty.  I was hoping to catch an intensely beautiful sunrise to salve the sting of a bitter disappointment.  But the dense cloud cover from a brooding storm made the event a royal let-down.  The resignation in my heart spoke first.

‘Par for the course’,  I thought.  Have you ever seen a young child disappointed?  Unfamiliar with the possibility of failure a child makes his plans without a remote consideration that he might not get what he wants.  When I see such a child watch the object of his affection slip away I can barely tolerate it.  ‘That kid needs to toughen up’, I like to think to myself.  You just can’t be so vulnerable.

How quickly the ambivalence of cynicism rears its ugly head against desire’s fearlessness.  Excuses spring up like weeds.  Sour grapes.

Two swans sliced their way across the river without a ripple — one directly behind the other.  I immediately thought of God and me.  I so wanted the swan in the back to catch up to the leader, to experience the intimacy I desperately long for.  As I watched the gliding race, the gap between the swans would shorten then widen again without warning.  I watched in frustration, until I understood the truth.  The point of my life is not how close or how far I feel from God.  The point of my life is that I follow Him.  Wind and current and a hundred conditions I can’t explain can pull and push and pressure me to give up hope.  But like the swans I saw on the river, the glory and grace of my journey is to glide along with my eyes on Him.  As I turned to leave the two swans were resting in the shallow water together — face to face.

My Real Dad

Driving home in the dark.  Deep in thought.  Pulled back for the thousandth time to the scary room.  I am small in my bed.  I must be five or six.  I am on the bottom bunk.  I look up at the wooden slats supporting the mattress above me.  The glow-in-the-dark stars are there so I won’t be afraid.  There’s an amazing mural painted on the wall.  The Cat in the Hat balancing on a ball.  My mom painted it.  My mom is the best artist I know.  Two squares of light appear in the corner and move slowly across the wall, then disappear into the closet.  After a minute they appear again, this time starting from the closet and moving in the opposite direction.  The fading whine and rumble was louder that time.  Must have been a truck.

The memory fades out and disappears.  I can’t remember what comes next.  I can’t remember why it’s so important.  What happened in that room?

My mind wanders to thoughts of my father.  I think about the prayer, the Big Prayer that went unanswered.  I prayed the Prayer for years with all the child-like faith, persistence, and courage I could muster.  I spent all my Hopes and Wishes on the one Big Prayer, the Prayer of my Life.  I laid it all down.  I bet the farm.  When God said no, things were never the same.

I asked God to make him Good.  I asked God to make him love Him.  I Needed a dad.  If God would just do this one thing, just this one small favor, I could live with the rest.  The Big Prayer was, ‘God, please make my dad Good’.  What I prayed in ignorance, I now know to be wrong.  God’s hands were tied.  He couldn’t answer my prayer.  God won’t force love.  It’s against His Religion.

  Focused on the road and the lights of the cars ahead of me, a thought comes to me.  It buzzes around like an annoying fly for some time before I even realize it’s there.  Here it comes again, a little louder this time… Let me be your Dad.  Hmm, I wonder.  What’s that supposed to mean?  Let me be your Dad. I think again, I’ll be your Dad. Now that’s just confusing.  Let me be your dad?  Whose dad?  And why dad?  Don’t I mean ‘let me be your mom’?  This just doesn’t make sense.  But here it comes again.  A thought so tender, so pained, so gentle.  Not controlling, not even urging.  Just a simple, quiet invitation, a patient, hopeful expectancy.  Let me be your Dad.  I want to be your Dad.  

 And then it dawns on me.  The source of the thought.  God is my Dad.  God has always been my Dad.  He’s the one who somehow kept me alive, kept me sane under impossible circumstances.  He’s the one, the only one, who has watched me and helped me build a life based on truth.  A life not free of mistakes, but always pressing on in the right direction.  He’s the one, the only one, who has always looked on with pride when I made the right decision, when I won success.  He’s the one, the only one, who has always cried with me when I suffered.  I bore up under the pain because of Him and only Him.  God is my Dad.

I struggle to keep the car on the road as my body begins to shake.  Tears flow freely from my eyes, turning the lights from the cars ahead of me into blurry X’s.  I’ve been given a gift.  A new Big Prayer.  The Prayer of my Life for the rest of my life.  God, you are my Dad.  You are my Real Dad.  You have always been my Real Dad.  Thank you for being my Dad.  Thank you for being such a Great Dad. 

A Romantic Interlude

I have a long commute to work.  It’s become my favorite time of the day.  I drive with God.  We often play music or listen to the Scriptures.  Sometimes I talk to Him and sometimes I just ride quietly and listen.  This morning I asked Him ‘do you love me?’  It just kind of spilled out and I immediately regretted it.  How would I feel if He didn’t answer?  I quickly packed the question away and before long I had been swept up in the music again.

I pulled into my parking spot and lingered a minute or two to hear the end of the song.  Yeah, it was one of those mornings.  I just couldn’t pull myself away.  I reluctantly turned the key and got out and shut the door.  This has been an amazing Spring.  At this moment Spring is at its peak.  I can just barely see the colors of the leaves still packed away tightly in their buds.  Their intensity is tantalizing.  Maybe it was the colors leaking through the cracks or maybe it was the aroma of newness that made me so acutely aware of my surroundings as I walked in to the building from my car.  A quartet of birds sang a chorus to me in an intricately woven countermelody.  The rays of the sun enfolded me like a golden blanket and the wind fell playfully upon my face in what felt like tender kisses.  By the time I passed through the door and swiped my badge I had a grin on my face that wouldn’t quit for hours.  I realized that my question had been answered. 

God’s Masterpiece

 

C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain wrote: 

 

We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the ‘intolerable compliment’. Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would, doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and recommenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumbnail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed us for a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.                                                                                                                                                              How this gem of truth has resonated with me, bringing peace and healing deep within.  To give God my blessing to do His good work in me according to His glorious design.  To be whole and wholly His.  To experience His tender and passionate love — His pains-taking labor on the canvas of my soul.                                                                                               Thank you Father!

Walking with God

When I was a little girl one of my favorite Bible stories was the one about Enoch.  There’s not much really written about him, no more than a line or two.  But those scant phrases lit a fire in my imagination that never went out.  Enoch walked with God and he was no more because God took him.  Imagine.  To have a relationship with your Creator such that the Inventor of the universe would bend the rules of life and death to be with you.  To set off one day and just never come back.  I’ve wondered often about it.  What was so Special about Enoch? — how did he get so good at praying? — what was his spiritual secret?  

I’m starting to realize that I’ve had the story all wrong.  It’s not a story about a special man, but a story about a special God.  A God who loves to be with us.  A God who makes Himself accessible — makes it easy even, to find Him and to share our lives with Him.

I’ve been learning to walk with God.  To listen for His voice.  Here’s how it looks for me.  I quiet my thoughts.  The usual clutter that skips around in my brain:  what bills need to be paid? how am I going to get that project done at work?  I think we’re almost out of milk — I let that settle down without feeding it.  And then I’m still.  I ask God to come and I wait for Him.

When my mind wanders off again as it inevitably does I pull it back and I try again.  I’m often distracted during this time with self-destructive thoughts and negative habits.  Refusing those cravings brings to light the pain that was hiding underneath them.  I let myself feel it.

God often comes for me in a feeling deep in my stomach.  A warmth and a feeling of peace radiates through me.  I talk.  I listen.  I draw closer.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.  How do you walk with God?

Drawing me closer

I shouldn’t have the life I have.  I should be dead or strung out on drugs or living on the street.  I can’t explain why I escaped all that.  No one can except to say that God loves me.  He has shown His love to me again and again and again.  I had no choice but to stop doubting His love a long time ago.

Yet I hold back.  I feel like an autistic person when it comes to God.  Love me God, but don’t look me in the eye.  It’s too intense, just too…  much.  I want authentic intimacy with God – I long for it.  I just keep getting awkwardly in the way.  But little by little He draws me closer.  No.  That’s not right.  He invites me closer.  He asks me.  And He waits.