Most of the time I don’t feel that I’m putting enough effort into my marriage with God.
He gives all of Himself to me, and I give Him the remainder, what I have left over after I have given myself away to everything else –school, family, friends, dreams, job search, desires, worry, adventure, fun times with friends, emotions. He gets my time, energy, love, and faithfulness when everything else has already taken most of me.
Recently, however, God has been more apparent. I’ve been seeking Him, not more radically, but more steadily. I desire Him more and have been looking for ways to find Him.
No, I have not been on a missions trip recently. No, I did not go on a retreat or to camp. It is not a “high” like coming home from camp and being totally on fire for God. And yet, I feel so strongly toward God, more strongly than I ever have (besides missions and the time when I was surrendering my life to Him). God is working so obviously in my life. We’re just “going steady.”
Within the last month or so, I have come to realize that I am the bride of Christ. It is written in the Bible many times, but it is one description of Jesus that I never cared to understand. Father — I can understand. Savior — it is obvious. Redeemer, Prince of Peace, Counselor, Almighty God, Emmanuel, King, Lord — all of those are fairly straight-forward. But, a bride? Yes, a bride.
Understanding that I am the bride of Christ has led me into a much deeper place with Him. I cannot say I am soaring high in the clouds every day, but I understand more of why He sacrificed Himself, what the sacrifice meant, why He loves, how He loves me. The whole spiritual realm that has baffled me is becoming more clear.
I wrote a little while ago about the meaning of life. It is very clear in Revelation that the grand scheme, purpose, beginning, end, intention, meaning, goal, mission — the whole point to our existence is to be lovers (brides) of Christ. “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the songs of God coming into their own,” says Paul (Disappointment with God, Philip Yancey). Every person, angel, being — they are all waiting for the day when God is rightly reunited with His lover (that’s us!).
I really cannot explain how far this realization has brought me. No longer is God just a Ruler. He is personal. He is close. He is intimate. He is here.
As I often do towards the end of the year, I have been rereading some of my old posts and thinking about where I’m at since then. I want to show you where my heart has come since last year around this time. It is so wonderful to see how, in what seemed to be nearly a silent time in my life with God, I have grown so much.
January 1, 2009 | Jeremiah 29:13: “Last night, as I was struggling to roll over and fall asleep, I was texting a 7th grade friend of mine. She asked what my resolution was. ‘To love God more deeply and to search for Him because He says that when we look for Him then we’ll find Him.’ Lately I’ve been ‘putting off’ my faith. I have not sought God with all of my heart. It’s not because I don’t love God, it’s because there is a fear that when I seek Him, I won’t find Him. I’m afraid that I will always be seeking and never get to experience God, that I will desire Him, and He will abandon me. His truth is much different from my thoughts.”
Today: I have to ask myself: Have I loved God more deeply? Have I sought Him? Did I find Him? To be completely honest, I forgot I even made this resolution. But God did not. I have seen this come to life this year.
Perhaps it is not so evident for someone looking in from the outside. To me, God is so obvious!
He has been teaching me how important it is to Him that I seek Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength– that I seek Him in the quiet place, in the stillness. It is vital to our relationship that I desire Him above everything else and that I seek Him on my own, not through other people, books, sermons, classes. I need to seek Him with all of my heart, not through the heart of another person. I need to discover Him for myself, not through the discoveries of others.
My marriage with God cannot be dependent on “spiritual highs” from missions and intense worship, or summer, or retreats. It is a steady thing, a day-to-day thing. He is not a God who I can pull out of my pocket for rainy days. He is a God who desires me every day of my life and who wants a two-way relationship. He has been teaching me how to love Him and what it means to love Him in the quiet, slow times of my life.
His peace is overwhelmingly present in my life right now. I cannot describe the complete joy that I have. Learning about God, learning through school, learning about life. God is so good. Joy and peace are abundant in a life with Him.
I’ll end with this — a prayer for faith.
My heart is glad, that you are my Father
Adopted to you, as sons and daughters
And Your love endures, as You said it would
And my heart sings…
Teach me, the sound of Your voice
With the faith to respond, to love you…
Teach me, to follow you close
With the faith you bestow, to love you…
My heart is glad, to serve you as King
Forgive the times, that I am stubborn
With a humble heart, may I come to you
And my heart sings