Our relationship with the Lord is the doorway to all other relationships. This relationship must become the basis for relationships with others, so that our relationships will be strong and long-lasting.
Of course, we will always struggle to love the Lord as He ought to be loved. We will not always feel a spiritual sense of closeness to Him. But loving God is not about feeling lovingly toward Him; it is about acting in a way that demonstrates our love for Him. I once confessed to my father, “I feel like I don’t love the Lord anymore. I feel like I’m just doing what He wants me to do out of habit and not because I love Him.”
My father asked, “What’s wrong with that?”
At the time, it seemed barbaric that I could obey God out of habit rather than out of love, but as time went on, I began to see what my father had meant.
“You mean to tell me that you try to be honest—all the time?” The man (whom I'll call Bill) looked incredulously at Dad.
“Yes,” Dad replied. “I mean, I’m human. I mess up sometimes. But it’s what I strive for.”
“This is part of your religion, right?”
“It’s part of having a relationship with Christ,” Dad answered. “I take it very seriously.”
“Not even little white lies?”
Making my way to the airport gate, I basked in the stunned delight of one who has just experienced the blessing of God through prayer.
Earlier, as I climbed aboard the shuttle bus that would take me from one side to the other of the massive airport, I found just enough room to squeeze myself next to an elderly woman before the bus choked with passengers. The elderly woman smiled warmly at me, and I smiled back.
The conversation came easily. Soon the elderly woman shared a number of difficult situations she had endured in the last year—her son’s sudden death of cancer that no one knew he had, her own battles with cancer, and more. The weight of her burden settled upon me as she spoke.
How could I simply nod and murmur sympathies when this woman spoke of deep pain?
What would you think of a woman who constantly wrote and spoke about the man she loved, spent time with his immediate family members, and studied his love letters over and over—yet rarely spent time with him?
We may laugh at the idea, but many women today fall into the same pattern in their relationship with Jesus Christ. In the multitude of women’s retreats and ministries, missions trips, church programs and events, Christian women lead lives so full of Christian clutter that there is little opportunity for deep relating with our God.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.