Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 2 Corinthians 5:7
This is a hard thing to write about – it’s truly difficult for me to put it into words, so I’m just going to try!
I’ve been thinking a lot about relationship lately. Relationships, the way that we tend to perceive them, are based a LOT around feelings. As humans, we experience them, right?
Feelings are part of our make-up. But often, we rely upon them way too much. We can allow them to define us and/or define our relationships. And feelings are so fickle! So if you ask me, they shouldn’t be the foundation of all that we call relationship. No sir!
Much of the time I find myself thinking that the type of relationship we have with God is really the only one that is all the way right. It has crossed my mind so often, because, as you know, I don’t get out and about a whole lot.
The world likes to say that if we aren’t seeing, feeling, touching, hearing, smelling – EXPERIENCING – well, then we aren’t in real relationship with others. That can be partially true, but it isn’t always the whole truth. Be careful about that and listen to the Lord!
My relationship with God DEFIES human boundaries! I know this because I have experienced it first hand now that all the other stuff has been stripped away during this weird and hard season in my life. And it’s caused me to take a hard and deep look at the fact that maybe – just MAYBE – we rely too much upon what we can see and experience- all the tangible stuff- to define true relationship.
In some ways, that reliance upon all that is within our grasp can trick us, man. And God can break the mold any time He wants to if we allow Him to do so.
I used to be surrounded by people. I was in the mix of it all. I’m not bashing that – man, alive! If you can get out among people, please do it! Jesus and the disciples did that very thing and it is important! Being alone is not good for us, so whenever it is possible to spend time with other people, it is GOOD.
But in some ways, being alone a lot causes a person to really dig for the true gold amidst the intangibles. And that too, is very, very good ~ IF we are digging in all the right places.
It all depends upon what we do with the season in life that is before us. Do we wallow around and feel sorry for ourselves most of the time, or do we look for the treasure we have when we are in relationship with Jesus?
- The Jesus treasure!
- The real relationship we have and find in prayer and study of His Word – His love letter to us!
- The crying out we do in the bathtub when we are feeling sorry for ourselves!
- The dancing and singing in our hearts to praise Him for every little thing that we used to dismiss as not important!
- The new understanding of His character in the midst of our “suffering” that we may never have had revealed to us before without having been placed in this season!
Make no mistake about it – our relationship with Jesus involves feelings too! But for me, I have found that it is characterized more about what I know about Him than all of that other stuff. It takes a lot of me out of the picture – although that is always still a struggle. It causes me to focus in on Him a little more.
We can’t “see” Him yet. We can’t touch him tangibly yet. We can’t hear Him in the same way (with our ears) or smell Him just yet. But does that make the relationship we have with our Savior less-than in some way? No!
It defies the boundaries we mere little human beings place around our ability to have “relationship.” It transcends feelings and tangible feel-good stuff. AND, no matter whether we are surrounded by 1000 other people or walking much of our season in life alone, HE IS WITH US.
How rad is that?!
Not being able to rely upon the things we can grasp, hold, squeeze, cling to – well, it all causes us to rely upon HIM and the fact that HE is unchanging. It causes us to try to know Him, rather than rely upon all that other stuff to convince ourselves there is something there. It inspires us to dig – to listen – to be in His Word in order to “hear” HIS VOICE. It is an experience – our relationship with our Savior.
But I won’t lie. It certainly makes it harder in some ways, right? The ideal is to be able to press in deeper in our relationship with Jesus AND nurture our many other relationships with people in real and tangible ways. But sometimes, we are in a season like Job was when he was ailing (to put it mildly) or like Paul was when he was in prison – and conditions are not “ideal.”
And isn’t that something that might actually be to our benefit? Again – is it possible that when we can’t rely upon the tangible things, we seek Him all the more?
I would venture to say that digging in with regard to our relationship with Christ is a bit harder when we are not in a season of spending a lot of time alone. Why can I say that? Because I have been in both places. I had a relationship with Jesus before, but I was distracted a lot, too. Maybe, in some ways, He has given me a gift through this season of chronic illness. I know that sounds weird, but it’s how I’m coming to see it all.
And I share this with you today because if YOU are in a season that is causing you to be alone a lot of the time, I know you will be tempted to allow the world or, worse yet, the enemy cause you to think you can’t have a FULL relationship with Jesus Christ in the midst of that. That is a lie! Be encouraged, dear friend!
I have grown closer in my relationship with Jesus than ever before because I have been able to use this time in this season in my life to get back to my first love – something I should have done before anyway. I desire to seek Him more diligently but have to ask Him daily to help me to cut through all the feelings I have about my chronic illness, including the physical and emotional ones, so as to focus in on HIM. It is a daily battle in which I am asked to surrender my attitude and outlook and change it from thinking about all that is missing to all that I can still have in HIM! And to enjoy and appreciate every single thing He has provided for me on this earth too – like my family, my church family, my sweet puppy dog, and having a nice home to sleep in and live in until I go to my forever home.
I am not really alone. You aren’t either if you don’t want to be.
I often find myself longing to hear Him or feel Him hugging me in spite of the fact that I know He is already here with me. That’s the human being inside that longs for the tangible stuff. But I am not missing anything this side of heaven in having a real and awesome relationship with Jesus.
And one day ~ one GLORIOUS DAY – we will meet our Lord and Savior and get our glorified bodies. It’s going to happen soon and very soon! And THEN! I can’t even imagine what He has in store for us, dear friends!
In the meantime, we can cry out to Him to draw near – and He does, friends, HE DOES! We can use this time to ask Him to show us through what seem like dark or lonely seasons or like loss or missing out on things, that we actually have more than we could ever ask for in our relationship with Him! We can learn more about HIS attributes and who HE is in spite of the fact that the only thing we feel we can grasp is our relationship with our Savior and His Word.
The only thing? That thing is HUGE. Don’t allow the enemy to diminish that. Allow God to magnify it!
And He and His word lives on forever, whether it is clutched in our mere little hands or not. It is living and everlasting and deeply embedded in our hearts and our souls. He can never be stripped away from us. No, not ever!
He is always with us, friends. He is faithful and true.
Jesus Christ is all about relationship. But never forget – He KNOWS HOW to break the mold. And in what seems like a time marked by having to squint so we can see, He can magnify Himself in our lives. He can!
Let us embrace that.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 5:7