“If I become a Christian, how will this relationship with God manifest itself? Will he talk to me the way everyone else I share a relationship with does?”
This is another, really good, rightful question. And there’s no condescension in the second part as there are people (and many believers) who feel as though God speaks to, and sometimes through, them and/or others. That being said, let’s get this out of the way first; does God talk to me as my friends/family/etc. do in other relationships? No. Still, are there ways I know He’s there, He’s looking out for me and He has my best interests at heart? Yes. I’ll give you two examples:
In the couple of days leading up to my post(s) on porn addiction (here and here), the two daily devotional books my wife and I read from both had to do with being in God’s will; resting in God’s will; knowing that if you earnestly strive to follow Him, He has your best interests in mind. Then, the posts came out and an unanticipated, curious fall-out happened with the non-profit my wife and I were involved with–ending with our walking away from an organization my wife helped to co-found. Oddly, our first thoughts were of almost a relief and finality. This isn’t the first time we’ve rocked the boat with our “controversial” stands on issues, including outward proclamations of our faith, but by this time we’d had enough. We were fine with walking away. Even walking away from something my wife had helped to create. Then, looking back over those previous days devotions, it became clear to us that things happened exactly as they were supposed to happen, God was setting us up to be okay with it, and through it all, we were going to be okay. You can call it karma, or coincidence, or fate. We choose to call it God’s will for us. In other words, one of the ways our relationship with Him has manifested itself.
The next would be the birth of our daughter. Cheryl and I were older when we found out we were pregnant (I love how a guy can so easily say we were pregnant!) and the risk of Down syndrome was a real possibility. We prayed—we honestly, earnestly prayed—with our home group and others from the church that our baby girl would not be born with Ds.
God said no.
We were initially devastated. How could this be God’s will for our lives? How could this be God’s will for HER life? It honestly took a while. Well, no, that’s not entirely true. It didn’t take that long at all. Our little girl, this helpless, innocent newborn, who is still one of the two most beautiful girls in my life, needed us. Needed us to be strong. Needed us to be brave. Needed us to be parents.
Still, to see the many health-related “bullets” our daughter has dodged, from heart problems, to digestive issues, even cognitive concerns; and to see the type of impact Emma has on the lives of the people she comes in contact with—her friends, her teachers, her therapists; to see the type of young man her big brother is becoming; to see the compassion grow in our own lives—especially towards the disabled community: We truly count ourselves as blessed to have this little girl in our lives. To rest in the assurance that, indeed, God had our best interests, and hers, in mind all along. We would never have seen any of this apart from Emma being exactly who she was meant to be. Again, call it coincidence, fate, chance; we see it as so much more than that.
Granted, it’s not always easy. It’s not without its struggles. God doesn’t always use a 2X4 to get His point across. You sometimes have to listen for that still, small voice. But I can look back in the rear-view mirror of my/our life up to this point with clear 20/20 vision and see exactly where God has been with us all along. That, to me, is how God’s relationship with us manifests itself. Not only manifesting, but growing and expanding as our faith and trust in Him grows and expands.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”
The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!