Things HAPPEN in the context of a relationship.
I have been praying to have more of Christ. But somehow I thought that this was something God was going to bestow on me from above. He was going to open the eyes of my heart, infuse me with understanding, expand my head and heart so they can better contain all that is Him.
And all of that can happen.
But. . . then I realized that one of the best ways to experience more of Christ is to spend more time with him. You get closer to someone when you invest in the relationship. Duh.
Jesus said, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15)
It’s a relationship with God. One of my favorite illustrations of this has always been, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Ps 5:3) We talk to God, and we expect to hear back from Him. It’s reciprocal.
So I’ve started practicing this. I ask God what to do, and often an answer comes. It is very comforting in many situations where I am stuck and lost in my emotions to realize that I can ask God for a way out, and he will provide it.
Then I realized that this goes much deeper. A relationship is not just conversing, it involves an emotional connection. I need to talk to God, but more than that, I need to express my love to him.
My new goal is to tell God I love him many times during the day. As I’ve begun doing this, I feel so much different, so much better. I care about what God cares about. I want His will to be done. I want others to be freed from their miseries so they can be close to Him. My heart is engaged.
And it came to me that God’s heart is also engaged. If I pray, God doesn’t just sit there like a block. He is moved by me, because that is what love is. He is COMPASSIONATE. If I am struggling, He hurts for me. If I am happy, He rejoices with me. If I have faith, He smiles. In every interaction with God, every little conversation I have, there is a reaction from God.
When I am finally able to not merely focus on all my needs, all my burdens, all I want Him to do, I am in a position to receive from God. His love comes upon me like the shining of the sun. He whispers to me that I am treasured, that I’m doing a good job. He tells me he will take on my pain, that he took the lashes for me, that his wounds will heal me. Jesus reaches and takes me by the hand and tells me he gladly died for me, and as I walk, he will NOT let go of my hand, he will be by my side.
Let me bring my burdens and impossible situations into God’s unquenchable light, a power as vast as the universe, a love a thousand times more tender than my own, a sovereignty that cannot be challenged. I don’t know what to do with them, but He, as my Father, my friend, and the One who cares more than anyone else, surely does.