In one way or another you managed to end up here: reading this mass of jumbled letters. Because of the internet we have a relationship, though it’s one which falsifies ultimate reality. We are connected via Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr. When I write, I write as though I’m speaking to a friend; when you read, I assume you read as though you received a letter from a friend. Yet in our fast-paced, relationally ambiguous culture, we take this connection as a substitute for true friendship.
Is this how our culture has interpreted a connection with God?
Last night I caught up with a friend over the phone and we were talking about this concept of developing true intimacy with God. In our youth ministry, Fuse, our youth pastor Brad Cooper just started a new series titled Promise Maker, Promise Keeper. He expressed that we are the most skeptical generation because we’ve inherited a culture of broken promises. From parents who can’t stay together, to governments that use empty words to stir support, yet lack the follow-through.
Right now, I’m dealing with this very thing. How do I trust God when most of my past points to disappointment? It’s amazing to see that all throughout the Bible, not only does God make a bunch of promises to his kids, He also keeps them. For the purpose of this blog, I want to really highlight one specific promise in Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Throughout most of my life, I have focused the majority of my prayers on the “desires of my heart” part. For the first time, I’m beginning to understand that it’s less about my heart’s desires and far more about the delighting in the Lord part.
But what does that even mean?
In chatting with Katie (my friend), she connected the dots in a lot of areas as to why it’s so difficult to really get tight with Jesus. The majority of our problem is the notion of proximity. We think that commenting on a status, or retweeting an idea really connects us to a person. We see pictures and feel part of the moment; we get depressed over someone else’s updates and get emotionally involved in political arguments because someone posted a picture of deforestation in Brazil. Being someone’s friend or follower is the ultimate achievement for some people. I’m sorry, but I can’t truly be expected to be real friends with 877 people.
Isn’t that how it is with God most days? We have a Bible and read it sometimes. We sing songs and maybe hear an uplifting story or two and think, ya I know God. Yet when things don’t go our way or we really need something we get lost in confusion and wonder why this person we know would do such a thing. Do I really know Him? You can’t have a healthy marriage based off of text messages and Skype chats. If you’re trying to get to know someone, you have to see them in all circumstances. In joy, in trial, in fear, in peace. I’d give anything to spend quality time with my friends than just track their updates on Twitter. In fact, that just depresses me more because I’m not actually with them.
I’m sure God feels like that sometimes. We ask him for things, comment on His status updates, but we’re never really asking to spend time with Him. Of course He still loves us, but when we don’t get the things we want, we think differently. I looked up that word “Delight” in the Hebrew and it means “to be soft or pliable, that is…delicate.” The picture that first comes to mind is how I’ve seen some women act around their husbands when they really trust them. She wants to know everything about him. She wants him to lead. She wants to relax in his security. And that’s what God wants us to do.
He wants us to want to know Him.
It’s when we get close, when we stop allowing any room for confusion in our relationship, when we take time to know His heart that we begin to see what He desires. Often, those desires will become our own. We may even find that He did give us the longing for things and by getting close, He assures us that He will come through on those promises.
I can’t be Facebook friends with God. That isn’t how it works. I must be inseparable, completely connected, thoroughly at rest in His security. Relational ambiguity can’t exist with God when He is truly everything.