A radio caller asked me last week what I meant by a relationship with God. On one hand, the answer seems so self-evident. On the other, I realized that each of us has so many different kinds of relationships in our lives–some joyful, some blasÃ©, some dangerous, some fulfilling, some disheartening, some painful.
I have gone through many dark days in my life time in my relationship with God–times when I felt that God abandoned me or was unfair to me, or simply didn’t care. At other times, I’ve feared that God was angry at me for my sins or meting out just punishment. Sometimes, I feel so empty and despair that life seems meaningless and unbearable. Nearly everyone I know can talk about times when they could not say they had a good, personal relationship with God.
But in my relationship with God, I have also known a tremendous sense of love, of comfort, of peace, of joy, of strength, and power. So, today, when I talk about relationship with God, I think of the good experiences, without forgetting the depth of the pain and “lostness” I have felt at times–and still feel on occasion.
So, what is a relationship with God–that’s worth talking about and promoting?
For the radio caller, I simply said, it is our sense of connection to God. A “personal” relationship goes further. Personally relating to God goes beyond believing that God exists or being vaguely aware of God’s presence. It is connecting in a way that seems personal to us–we can talk to God, we believe God hears us, we sense God is responding to us in one way or another.
A “good,” personal relationship with God involves even more. Not only do I feel connected and believe God is involved in my life, but I also cherish the relationship. I believe God loves me…personally. God knows my name, and cherishes me, too.
In spite of all the dark moments in my life, I’ve discovered a connection to God that has given me so much life, love and hope–all the while knowing that I have only had a small taste of all the God has in mind for those who seek a personal relationship with their God.
A few months ago, a friend asked me “who are you?” What a question! Then, from somewhere deep within me a simple answer suddenly emerged. “I am loved,” I told him. Somehow, that says it all for me.
Who are you?