This is the first in a 3-post series.
So my daughter Ellie is 8 and she loves to read her Bible. She believes every word that is in it because she’s never learned she shouldn’t. About a year ago when she came to me and told me that she wanted to have a vision, I wasn’t that surprised. She said, “You know, Mom, I want God to speak to me like he speaks to people in the Bible. People in the Bible are always talking to God and having visions and I want that, too.”
As far as my beautiful open-hearted girl is concerned, God giving her visions and speaking clearly to her like he did in the Bible should be a normative part of the Christian life.
So I told her to ask him.
“Ask him for what you want,” I said. “Ask him to come close and to speak to you in a way that you can hear him and know that it is him.”
“What if he doesn’t, Mom? What if I ask him to and he doesn’t?”
I know this question very well. I’ve asked it my whole life and so has most everyone I’ve known. It’s not surprising that she was asking it, is it? After all, it’s the question that’s been lodged in the human heart ever since Satan first dropped it like an atomic bomb in the Garden of Eden. What if he doesn’t come through? What if I put myself out there and he ditches me? What if he deserts me? Leaves me alone? If he doesn’t talk to me, does that mean that my trust is betrayed? Does it mean that I might want love and connection with him but he doesn’t want it with me? Does it mean that he’s holding out on me? That I’m disqualified? Disapproved?
Ellie and I talked about all this, but mostly I told her how much I loved her and how much God loved her and how much we both loved that she wanted him. I told her what a good desire that was, and how it is actually the desire of the Holy Spirit that she would hear him and that they would develop a friendship and build trust together. I told her that the very fact that she longs to hear from him reflects his own desire to speak to her. I suggested that her very desire might in fact be a response to his own whispered invitation; perhaps it is evidence of the deep calling to the deep–the deep mysterious way of the Holy Spirit that urges, calls, beckons, until it churns inside us so deeply that it manifests in our own desire for him. And then out of our mouths comes the truest desire of our hearts, and we proclaim what we want, and what we want is what HE wants!
Your ache, your longing to be close to him is a result–and a reflection–of his ache, his longing, to be close to you.
And this isn’t just for my sweet Ellie, is it?
When we realize how wanted we are, the what if questions seem to fade away, don’t they? Suddenly they just don’t seem like that big of an issue anymore, when we realize that our wantedness–our belovedness–is a given. It’s a non-negotiable, and it’s evidenced by our own desire for intimacy with God that wells up within us. Let’s not give up, then, okay? Let’s do what children do and keep asking, keep pressing, keep desiring and longing, and exercise our faith that the one who is calling us is faithful.September 1, 2015