I just had a bit of an epiphany. I have often said that I struggle with MANY things–but my relationship with God is never one of them. I know He loves me. I know He is with me. I know He is for me. Regardless of my life circumstances. Period.
I also know that is not the reality of every believer (not by a long-shot) and I have often wondered why.
“After all, many of us came to Christ to escape something (hell, punishment, tribulation…), so now we’re motivated by fear and self preservation.The only trouble is, neither one is found in the Kingdom of God, for God is love and there is no fear in love. ”
I left the following comment:
“That is such a powerful and profound statement and so telling about where much of the Church lives and why. But that was never my story which is why it has always been so hard for me to understand why people seem to desire Him so little when He is so amazingly good. I had ZERO conscious awareness of a need for Him to save me from hell or even to intervene in some particular situation — I needed Him. Period. I needed hope. I needed to be loved. He offered me all of that and so much more. Maybe because I had been so profoundly aware of my failings my whole life that it didn’t even factor into the equation for me … I never had any illusion of being able to handle things well on my own … I was just so stunned by the revelation of His love for me that nothing else really mattered from that point on. It was all about what He added to me, not what He kept me from.“
As soon as I wrote the words, I knew there was a lot of truth packed into that last little sentence…
My relationship with Him has never been about what He will deliver me from… it has always been about what He adds to me.
That fact has made all the difference. Because it is the difference between being rooted and grounded in love … rather than fear.
Don’t get me wrong, I am amazingly thankful for a myriad of things that He has saved me from. Probably zillions of things I’m not even aware of! But I am so much MORE thankful for what He has added to me …
- Unconditional, never-ending love
- Peace that passes understanding
- Wisdom freely given any time I ask
- Fullness of joy in His presence
- Freedom to be everything He created me to be
- Abounding hope
- His constant faithfulness…
And SO much more. In fact that list barely scratches the surface. But I’m sure you’ll also notice what isn’t on that list. What isn’t on that list is …
- Things always working out the way I want/expect them to work out
- Immediate deliverance from all temptation and evil
- Explanations for everything I don’t understand
- Quick, specific answers to all my prayers
- Others behaving the way I’d like them to behave
- Instant maturity and character
- A life free from pain …
When you come to Him to escape from something, it’s easy to build your foundation, your expectations, and even your doctrine, on what you expect Him to do, rather than on what He has already done.
But when it is the other way around you are free to discover that what He has already done is glorious. What He adds to you is magnificent. What He sees in you is beautiful.
And what He desires for you is the abundant life found by simply abiding in Him.
I believe God for a lot. Some of it I’ve seen, a lot of it I haven’t. I believe I will see a lot more. But because my relationship with Him is based on who He is and not on Him performing a particular way, I don’t distance myself from Him when things don’t work out according to my plan. That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced tons of disappointment that I’ve had to work through just like everyone else, but it does mean I work through those things with Him rather than in an attempt to get back to Him.
Maybe … just maybe … if we all focused more on who He is … if we focused more on what He’s already done … if we focused more on all the amazing things He has already added to us, rather than the things we want Him to keep us from … then maybe … just maybe,..
The Church will finally start operating more out of love than fear.