wanting to be closer

12 07 2007

what makes it so hard for us to be in an authentic relationship with God, who made us, is closer to us than the clothes we wear, knows more about us than even our parents (sometimes, especially our parents…) and loves us infinitely more than any other person could? why is it that we will so easily form bonds with the newest ‘thing,’ be it a swanky mobile phone, the most recent trend, a great pair of shoes, and still remain distant from someone who longs for proximity that is closer, closer, ever closer than what it is now? why can’t we commit to the one thing that will outrun the runner, and out-love the lover? when did i start expecting my God to only be a pair of ears to hear me say, “Lord, I hurt…” and only a pair of eyes to see my grief? when did i stop wanting to be closer to God, more like Jesus?

relationships take time, energy and patience. think of the last time you made a decision to become friends with someone, to start getting to know them better. the decision, if it is even a conscious one at all, is made, and invitation extended to the other person – to enter into your confidence, to share your experiences, pain, love, joy, life… – and it all begins. it starts with shared experiences: talking about your past, their past; likes and dislikes and how they came to be; significant events that will take place and somehow push you closer to one another, so that one day, you’ll each think of ‘that time’ and reminisce.
relationships take energy. sometimes it is more taxing than other demands from life, and you catch yourself wondering why you bothered in the first place. work’s too heavy/stressful/tiring right now, and you just can’t handle meeting for a coffee, no, not even for a short hour – who has that kind of time, anyway? the house needs too many repairs, in a million places, and things we didn’t expect to break have broken and now need fixing – by me, because no one else knows to how. i have to sleep at ten if i’m going to be able to wake up tomorrow morning in time for work. plus it’s been a long day, and i have too much to do still, every day. maybe we’ll catch up another time. can i take a rain check? how about we arrange something later? i’m just too tired, what about next week? tomorrow? this weekend? next week? next month? who has the energy to meet up with anyone, anyway? the energy to invest in a relationship is not something we always have an abundance of.
relationships take patience. there will always be times when disagreements would be so much easier to settle if only they would just shut up and listen to you. unfortunately, it goes the other way, too.

there are friends we love, secretly or openly, friends to share things you tell yourself you would never share, friends you may have lied to, friends you listen to, friends you go to for advice, friends you annoy and who annoy you right back, friends you call to shoot the breeze with, friends you love to see regularly and friends you just want to somehow spend more time with. each friend is a result of time spent, energy invested, and patience showed – by you, or by the other person, or by both, although if you’re being completely honest with yourself, it’s more often shown by the other person.

the song goes, who am i that you are mindful of me, that you hear me when i call? is it true that you are thinking of me? how you love me – it’s amazing… i am a friend of God… He calls me ‘friend’ and it’s a wonderful feeling to see the people around you fully cognisant of this fact, basking in the love that they’re being shown and that they’re feeling, and it’s wonderful to be singing along with the guitar, the high energy, the bass, the drums and the voices around you, in tune and out. but if we truly desire friendship, a relationship, with God, or have accepted Jesus as our “personal Saviour” then why do we only want this relationship to be one sided? in a friendship, one becomes vulnerable and open with the other, and vice versa. there is no real relationship in this world that comes from deceit and half-revealed things… real relationship requires honesty, sharing, and being vulnerable with each other.

what does this mean? it means that we let the other person in on our deepest fears, our darkest secrets, our sorrow, anxieties and doubts. this is how true relationship is formed.

so what is it about our relationship with God that means we open up as much as we want to Him, sharing our hopes, fears, anxieties and grief with Him, but not expect Him to reciprocate? what is it about our relationship with God that allows us to unwind, to let go of our burdens, but He… cannot? how is it that when it comes to God letting us know about the way He feels about the brokenness of the single parent, the sorrow He feels about every child that goes to bed hungry tonight, or the anger he feels over the injustices of this world… we close our hearts, block our ears and squeeze shut our eyes?

where is the relationship is this? where is the mutual aspect of it? if we’re truly friends of God, then we would seek to right the wrongs that hurt His heart, just as a good friend would sit with you, listening sometimes, taking action at others, or just to get angry over the injustices that are being perpetuated in this world over which we have little or no control.

what we can control, however, is what we choose to do in response to what we hear.

today, i choose…