What is it like to have a relationship with God?

Growing in Christ

What I want to know about having a relationship with God is that it’s a lot of talking. God asks lots of questions, just because you have thoughts, opinions, wants, feelings, and responses to the world and reactions to being loved and well-treated by God. He’s going to ask you so that you’ll speak to him. This really is how much he loves you. And, nothing is a test, not really. Because even a test only measures Jesus’s work in you. Jesus is the one being tested, now.

I wonder if many people fear talking to God because they think it’s going to mean instant judgement. Eventually, Jesus will bring you before God’s table, which is the courts of heaven. It’s just you and the judge, who is Father God Almighty. There, you’ll be “tested.” It will feel like you’re being asked to fill out a written exam in a course you didn’t know you were enrolled in, but that is actually the perfect state of mind to be ready for the big exam. So, don’t leave and try to read your Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the answers, that’s the way to fail the test. Stay and answer every question honestly. You’re speaking to the Spirit of Truth, remember. This day is reserved for entrance into apostleship, so it’s not the place that speaking to God, begins.

Beginning to talk to God is gentle, usually. God does rock people with introducing himself in glory. But not usually. Often, he starts the conversation as a small voice spoken to the heart.

But when it’s time to receive more from God, he brings you to his table where he speaks his judgements. Here, God asks, “Who brought you here?” Again, answer honestly.

At the table of the Lord, it’s a place for feeling naked, bankrupt, needy, and totally lacking all the virtues. But God won’t kick you out. And you’ll find out that having brought nothing to his table except a multitude of needs and requests is exactly the state of mind you need to see him be pleased with you. And it’s a place where you find out that Jesus is the only person, between the two of you, that needs to fight for your life. If there’s a right answer, at this point, the Holy Spirit will tell you how you’re meant to respond to new information so that you can speak pleasingly to God. This is the beginning of God replacing heaviness with lightness. He’ll give you a burden to carry because if he doesn’t, you’ll pick up something else. But if you wait to pick up only what he has for you, you’ll discover that as soon as you take the first step of obedience, you’re burden is felt as joy because it’s specially tailored to bring you joy. As soon as you feel that joy, clarity will come rushing in, and it won’t be difficult to stay focused on what he has chosen for you to carry in this life as a purpose.  

But, the relationship with God is not like a cold courtroom where there’s little sound and few words and fewer expressions. While his table is a place of rest and receiving and eating and growing, which are all lovely things, there’s more to God than his table. It’s a relationship that resembles the growth of a child leaning on his or her parent from a baby to a child. I can’t be sure about adulthood, because we leave our parents in adulthood and we don’t leave God. I’m not sure if I will discover resemblances to adulthood, in the future.

God loves every stage of growth. He loves your dependence on him. He loves, even more, when you can talk and ask him for your needs. He loves talking to you. He loves feeding you. He loves being generous to you.

       Like a toddler who can just barely run, where the hallways in the house seem long, you’re going to spend a season of your relationship with him screaming for Daddy every ten seconds to hear his voice. His “I’m here,” is powerful comfort and joy. God loves this stage. He sees no reason to urge it onward before it’s time.

       Then, there’s the time of going on walks in the park with Aba Almighty. And since you know he’s around, you meet many of your friends. He’ll check in to make sure that you’re doing okay and that you don’t need anything or need to go pawdy. Does he not have his eyes on his child who just got strong enough for walking shoes? He’s watching. But who cares what Daddy’s doing when it’s such a sunny day and all you’re friends have come to the park, too! And every time he checks in, you know there’s plenty of time to keep talking with your friends. He’ll ask, “Are you ready to go?” And so long as the sun is warm and the breeze is gentle and there’s still friends to talk with, you’re not ready to leave the park. So you reply, speaking loudly because he’s very tall, “No!” And you keep on running in the park.

       Then the sun gets low on the horizon and the warmth goes away. And the walk got long because you’re leg muscles suddenly wearied. Most, if not all, of your friends have gone to their homes. But you can’t tell because you’re too tired to look up. Then, he hollers, “I’m going. It’s time to go.” But you don’t hear him because you’re searching for more friends, asking yourself if you talked to everybody because it would be rude to neglect someone who came to the park. He hollers to you, again, “I’m going. It’s time to go.” But you don’t hear him. So now he says, like a Dad coercing a toddler out of the park, “I’m leaving. I’m going to this way. Come with me if you want.”

       But, this being the first time you’ve heard his call to leave and seeing his big and tall legs walking toward the parking lot up the hill, you run will all your strength. And since you’ve never heard him say that kind of phrase before, suddenly everything looks scary; the park looks hauntingly void of friends, the grass is covered in the long shadows of evening, the breeze has turned cold, and you can’t identify the increasing volume of sounds. The flight has sparked your ears to hear his words, but with it came fear, begging the question, ‘What if he leaves me? Has he already forgotten me? Did I miss him? Am I too slow? Darn these little legs!” You see him turn around and wait for you, saying, “Come on.” The fear tires your heart, and you start walking, slowly. He asks you, “Do you want to come with me?” You say, worriedly, “Yes.” He turns as though you’re not worried, and says, “Come on. It’s time to go. I’m going this way. Let’s go.” But after two more steps all the fear comes out of you in screams and tears. He turns around and walks to you. Kneeling on a knee, he gently asks, “Why are you crying?” You say through your tears, “Were you going to leave me?” There’s no body language to tell if he’s disappointed. He says, “Do you want to go with me?” And tearfully, without understanding, you reply with a head nod and sadly whimper, “Yes.” He replies, “Okay, good, I’m just telling you were I’m going. I’m getting your attention. I was going to wait for you.” But even the relief has fear in it, and you cry holding your arms out for a hug, “You were walking away. What if I was too slow?” He sighs, but you can’t tell why, “You’re crying because you don’t trust me. Why don’t you trust me? Don’t you know I love you? Why did we come to the park, do you remember?” You think and answer, “No.” He says, “We came to the park because I took you here to play with your friends, where are your friends?” You look around and the shadows are long, “They went home.” He continues, “That’s right. There’s no body here to play with anymore. Do you want to sleep in the park?” Immediately tears burst with a fit of worried screams. He grabs your shoulders, lightly and says, “Okay, are you crying because you thought I was telling you to sleep in the park?” Tearfully, you nod yes. He says, “Let me ask you, again. Do you want to sleep in the park?” With less tears, but no understanding you respond, “No,” into your balled hand that’s now hiding in your mouth. And he says, “I don’t want you to sleep in the park, but it’s an option. Did you know you could ask me permission for you to sleep in the park?” You shack your head ‘no’ in surprise at the unwantable thought. And he says, “Would it make me a good Dad or bad Dad if I gave you permission to sleep in the park?” With tears of overwhelmed, you cry, “I don’t know!” He asks, “Are you tired?” Tearfully, you nod ‘yes.’ And he says, “Do you want me to hold you?” Fearfully, you nod ‘yes.’ And he says, “Okay, now listen, I’m going to hold you, but you’re big now because you know lots of words, words that I taught you. It’s time you start asking me with your words. So, I want to hold you. And I know you want to be held because I know you very, very well. But it’s time you ask me with your words. So, do you know that I will hold you as soon as you ask?” Believingly, you nod ‘yes.’ And he continues, “Okay so, I want you to say, ‘Abba, I want you to hold me, please.’” And you say, “Abba, I want you to hold me, please.”

       Since he’s God, by Holy Spirit he asks your heart if he can whisk you up and spin you with a smile on his face, but the Holy Spirit reports that this time your heart needs him to take this moment in full seriousness because you worried with too much pain. The Holy Spirit assures him, “Next time. Trust has built, even a little, already.”

       So, he picks you up and wraps his arms around you, taking you against his chest, tight until you feel hidden and safe and wanted. Then he promises, “I will always wait for you. Can we go to the park, again, some time? Not tonight because I bet you’re getting hungry, and I haven’t put any fruit in the trees here, but I know at home there will be a hot dinner. How about dinner tonight and the park again, another day?” And you nod ‘yes’ with a big smile. And he corrects, lovingly, whispering, “Can I hear your words?” And pressing your head into his chest, you say aloud, “Yes.” He whispers, “Yes to the park?” With love filling your heart, replacing all that worry, you say with a smile, “Yes.” And he whispers his question, “Yes to dinner?” With a gleeful giggle, you say, “Yes!” and he says with seriousness, “Do you feel happy enough to walk or would you like me to carry you?” Your heart presses out the last of the worry that was in there, and you say, “Mm.” You shake your feet at the ankles, which are dangling over his big arm to test their strength. They might be ready. He sways you, a little. He asks, “Should I walk?” But now, your heart pushes and worry does come out. Instead, it’s delight and hope for going to the park, again. So, you respond, “I’m strong.” And you push him, so he knows to put you down. But he holds tightly, correcting, “Can you ask me with your words for this, too? Say, ‘Abba, I want you to put me down, now, thank you.’” And so you say, with a sigh, “Abba, I want you to put me down, now, thank you.” And he says, “Ah yeah! Cuz you’re so strong! And you have new shoes that I gave you!” and he sets you down. He says, “Can I hold your hand while we walk. It’s not that I doubt you can walk all by yourself, it’s just that I like holding your hand. Would you hold me hand?” Filled with joy for being loved, you say, “You can hold me hand.” Together, you walk to the car. While you walk together, he asks, “Do you like your shoes?” And you tell him your thoughts about your shoes. It’s a long walk for you, because your legs are still small, but he fills the time with lots of questions. He has so many questions that by the time the two of you get to the top of the hill, you must ask him to pick you up, again, because you’re too hungry and tired to make the journey to the car. And as the golden sun strikes bright sun rays over the parking lot, he sets you in the car seat. There, you nap on the way home. But he wakes you just in time for dinner.

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