A conversation Henry Blackaby shares in his book “Experiencing God” intrigues me. He asks a man from his church, “Can you describe your relationship with God by sincerely saying, “I love You with all of my heart?” The strangest look came over the mans face. he said, “Nobody has ever asked me that. No, I could not describe my relationship with God that way. I could say I obey Him. I serve Him, I worship Him, and I fear Him. But I cannot say that I love Him.”
That just struck me. I’m stuck in that thought. Can I say I love God with all my heart? I’ve known God since I was 6 years old. I think my relationship with God as a child could be described totally as “child-like faith.” God was my invisible friend. You know how some children have an imaginary friend that they name and play with for a period of time? Mine was God. Growing up on the farm in rural Iowa I was allowed to be a child and play when I was young. Talking to God was just natural for me. My friend and I would play together imagining everything from dating to marriage to being great music stars. (Admit it, you’ve sung into a hairbrush too.) Just as easily I talked to God. I learned about Him through our family’s church, youth group, Bible Camp and just being with Him. As I got older it wasn’t so easily accepted when I talked about my friend, God, to my peers. In fact, it became a dividing line in my teenage years. I was the odd man out in many circumstances. But the truth is I’ve had a friend nearly my whole life that I can depend on no matter what. Still, do I love Him with my whole heart?
We were created for relationship, with Him first and then others. When we don’t understand that and accept God’s love, everything else gets “out of whack.” Never was this more real to me than 8 years ago when my husband “crashed” mentally, physically and emotionally. One day while sitting outside by himself he slipped into a frozen state. During the crisis of his crash he had these catatonic episodes. Sitting there by himself, just outside my kitchen window, tears began to run down his face. After he had been out there for quite some time I went out to check on him. When I saw the tears I sat down next to him and asked what was going on. For a few minutes he couldn’t talk. When he did he was very choked up and he whispered with amazement, “He called me friend. He called me friend and said He wanted to play with me.” I will never forget that moment. This was a huge revelation to my husband. He had never felt “worthy” of anything. He knew God as his Savior. He worked hard for the Lord but He did not know that God was his “friend and He wanted to play with Him.” That revelation was the beginning of my husband’s recovery. It changed his life dramatically. It makes all the difference in all of our lives.
Do you know that God loves you, really loves you? He wants to not only be your Savior. He wants to be your friend. He wants to play with you. “We love Him because He first loved us.” I John 4:19 NIV
“No longer do I call you servants for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15: 15 NKJV
If this intrigues you, you may want to read a book written by an acquaintance of ours, Sky Jethani entitled With. Feel free to check it out. I’d love to hear what you are thinking. Leave a post or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org