Another Question: How Will a Relationship With God Manifest Itself?

“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.

Proverbs 3:5-6
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.

Psalm 28:7
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.

Isaiah 12:2
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.”

Nahum 1:7
The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.

Hebrews 10:35
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

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6 thoughts on “Another Question: How Will a Relationship With God Manifest Itself?”

  1. Thanks for talking about this Kent. I tend to think that when we look back on things and feel as though they worked out for the best, it’s more a sign of our tendency toward optimism than anything else. Some of us try to look on the bright side as often as possible, and I think that causes us to feel good about the way things have gone in our lives — even the hardships, since we learn lessons from them. But again, that’s just how I see things currently, and I could easily be wrong. So even though we disagree on the God issue, I am sincerely glad that you are happy and get value and comfort from your worldview. You’re obviously a good man on a good path — no one can ask for greater success than that. 🙂

    Thanks again for tackling this question!

    1. Thanks, Nate.
      “So even though we disagree on the God issue, I am sincerely glad that you are happy and get value and comfort from your worldview.” ~ And I feel the same way, my friend. Believe it or not, you’ve really helped me grow in many ways over this last year (distant though we may be from each other) and I’ve really come to appreciate our differences as well as our friendship.

      A “tendency toward optimism” and “try(ing) to look on the bright side as often as possible” are difficult mindsets to obtain let alone MAINtain; and I’m glad and continue to hope, within the whirlwind of your life story so far, that you and your family are able to remain in the comfort of that mindset. Truly, the only difference for me personally, is that my belief in those things bigger than myself (God and His plan) simply help me in being able to stay/rest in the comfort of that overall outlook–which we’ve discussed before. Although, even with my beliefs and faith it’s not always an easy road to walk. BTW, thanks for being okay with my breaking apart an answer to a previous, serious question of yours and turning it into a couple of, what I hope were, relevant posts.

  2. Hi Kent,
    Can I add this comment which is most respectfully offered. The struggles that come our way are not from the Throne of God, but from the fact that we are living in a fallen world. We overcome as we rest in the work of Christs sacrifice, not our own tenacity or rationalising of Gods plans. regards, Graeme

    1. I understand what you’re saying here, Graeme, and for the most part I agree. I bristle a little when someone implies that my daughter’s “imperfection” is as a result of a fallen world . . . and I honestly don’t think that is what you were trying to say. Struggles, temptations, trials, tragedy, none of it is God’s will for our lives, yet because we live in a fallen world, God allows these things to happen at times. Still, He is able to help us through these times when we turn, or rest, in Him. I didn’t meant to infer within my post that God is the instigator behind all the “bad” stuff that happens in the world; only that His presence in my life is truly a comfort and solace, and these were a couple of examples of how His presence has manifested itself in my life.

      1. Thank you for such a sensitive reply, and for not taking any offence which is certainly not intended. I guess I am saying that the difficulties we face in life are not passed through the filter of God’s choice for us – they are simply stuff that happens because we live on this planet – otherwise even bad things would, by implication ‘be sent from God to do His work in us’. His work in us was completed by Christ… Feel like I am talking in circles, thanks for listening. Graeme

        1. Ha! No circles at all, Graeme! I love this: “. . . the difficulties we face in life are not passed through the filter of God’s choice for us – they are simply stuff that happens because we live on this planet” Very well put indeed. And, thank you for the discussion.

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