Most Christians would be willing to say that they have a relationship with God, but some doubt that it is a deep, intimate relationship. Some Christians are acquaintances of God that comes from habit, training, or even just out of obligation. Think about your closest human relationship. It takes immense trust, time and commitment to really be in a deep, intimate human relation. This is also true of our relationship with God.
I am sure we all know that we are blessed if we have two or three deep, intimate relationships in our lifetime because in this kind of friendship we share who we truly are at the core of our being. No one has the power to hurt us like the few people who know everything about us. We become vulnerable. To allow someone the privilege of deep friendship requires total trust. Obviously, we do not have this kind of relationship with many people. When this trust occurs we are free to be our true selves with this friend. I become more real. I have a better self image. I am more comfortable with myself. I don’t worry when I am sad, happy, silly, tired, funny, even sometimes boring, because I know my friend accepts me as I am. I am moved to change, to grow, to be more than I could be alone. My really good friend encourages, challenges cajoles me into trying new things, to have more belief in myself, to be open to growth opportunities. I become more willing to reach out to others, to be more generous and self giving
It goes without saying that all this is happening mutually. It is never real friendship if it is only one person making the effort, doing all the work. It must be done together – calling each other to growth, to become one’s best possible self.
I believe these same dynamics are present in my relationship with God. Once I really let God into my life, the same dynamics take place as in our human friendship. I accept who I am — the beloved of God. I accept my gifts and limitations. I accept my responsibility to live a full Christian life.
When I do all this I grow. I constantly experience conversion, transformation, a change of heart. My problems and human weaknesses do not go away, but when I am in a deep relationship with my God, everything takes on a different complexion. I can look at life with spiritual eyes as well as physical. I can place myself and all those with whom I come in contact in the loving care of my God. I come to believe that God is always present to me. I believe that God always loves me. I believe that God is always forgiving me. I believe that God always understands me. I believe that God always accepts me as I am.
When I am truly open to God and allow God to fully enter my life, I begin to share my experience with others. Gradually, I gain the realization that I am the hands of God, the voice of God, the presence of God for others — and this is no small responsibility! I come to realize that prayer does not effect a change in God but in me!
We know that this growth in understanding, trust and personal experience of God does not happen overnight or in a few months or even years. It is a life-long process. Just as human relationship can die from lack of communication and care, so too, our relationship with God can weaken or even die if we do not spend time with God, communicate with God. It truly is a mutual relationship.
Even though some of us may never reach this deep, intimate experience of God, I firmly believe that effort counts. God knows what is deep within our hearts and even though we may never have a concrete experience of God, or some kind of mystical experience of God, God is always present and faithful. We have to continue to be faithful as well, even if dryness or the dark night is our regular experience in prayer. Just remember that God always loves us. God is always present to us. God is always faithful. It is up to us to do our part.
How would you describe your relationship with God? Are you satisfied with this relationship?
What steps can you take to grow in your relationship with God?
Has “Social Distancing” or fear of the Coronavirus affected your relationship with God?