Before I received the Holy Spirit, I remember thinking that if I had the Spirit of God within me, then I would have Jesus with me all the time and I would not feel alone anymore. Feeling alone in this world has been a constant for most of my life, and I assume that the problem is with me. I don’t want to get into that right now, because I have a larger and beautiful point that I’m getting at.
Every now and then, these feelings of loneliness come creeping back in. Today was one of those days. Then, I remembered what I had thought about before, and I reminded myself of the fact that God is all that I really need and I am not alone. I like to think about what Jesus said, “I am not alone because the Father is with me.” If Jesus is with us, then we are never really alone.
Although I am very grateful for all that He has done for me, I also began to grumble a little to Jesus. I know that He is always here, and I know that He always hears me. But sometimes I feel like something is missing because although He has become my greatest friend, I cannot see Him. I cannot sit down and have a tangible conversation with Him. So, it’s not the same as a real relationship. I know that it is wrong to feel this way and I am so thankful that He takes any time for someone like me at all, but I admitted this feeling to Him.
Then He let me know why this is necessary, and not just for me, but for all of us who love Him.
He reminded me of all the superficial relationships that I have had over the years, and even now there are some that are quite painful. There are people who I feel like should know me very well, but they have never taken the time or care to get to know me. We go through the motions of life together and we have some good times, but connection is missing. I’ve also had a few close friends in my life who I loved dearly, even as my own sisters and brothers, who dropped me. Usually because it was not fashionable to be my friend.
These relationships were all tangible but they were not meaningful.
In our relationship with Jesus, we do things in the opposite way. We cannot see Him as we see people in this world. We cannot sit with Him and talk with Him in the same way that we might sit and talk with one another. Our relationship with Jesus begins in the spirit first, and later we will “see Him as He is and we will know Him even as we are known by Him.”
This makes good sense.
This makes good sense because we are forming a relationship at the heart level. He knows us very well, even better than we know ourselves. Yet, as we speak with Him often—even when we are being foolish and on the border of thanklessness—we are forming a real relationship with Him that is true, open, and vulnerable.
In so doing, we learn to trust Him with who we really are, even when who we really are is not who we want to be. We know that He will change us into a person who is fit for everlasting life with Him in His Kingdom, and His blood cleanses us before God.
As we boldly draw near to Him, trusting in His grace, He also begins to reveal Himself to us. We get to know His words and not just the letter of them, but we get to see the heart and spirit of He who said them. We understand them and His words have an amazing effect on us.
For one, it’s amazing to get to know Him. That’s the best part, then because we know that He is good and we want to be pleasing to Him, we try to conform our lives to this understanding. We fail. We pray. We confess how we fall short and we praise Him for how good He is and how patient. He answers. He gives us a boost in Spirit to make us a little more like Him.
It all builds upon that. His word builds us up and we get to know Him and we get to become more like He is. This is so much better than thousands of superficial relationships in this world, and when you really think about it, all relationships in this life are superficial in comparison.
How silly I was to complain that I did not have a tangible friend. How silly I was to complain about feeling lonely in this world.
God in His immense wisdom has hidden Himself from us. He does so for many reasons and I think this is one of the most beautiful reasons. Jesus wants to get to know us (though He already does, we just need to experience drawing near to Him for our own growth) and He wants to reveal Himself to us in spirit first so that our relationship with Him is in heart and not just something that we do as we go through the motions of life.
I know that for many of us, our Christianity can get stale and it is as if we are just going trough the motions. Or so I’ve heard. Honestly, I have not had that since I started taking my faith seriously in 2014. I did take it lightly for most of my life, however. So, I do understand that mindset too and it is that faithless Christian faith that I minster to most of all.
So, I want to end this by saying that Jesus does not want a relationship that mimics our superficial relationships in this world. He wants our hearts, minds, and souls, and though sometimes we feel that faith is hard because we cannot see Him as we would like to see Him, Jesus says that we are blessed. “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.”
We are blessed because our faith is given from God, and we are also blessed because Jesus is forming a real relationship with us by hiding from us, because the only way to get to know Him is to care about getting to know Him. The only way to know Him is to “diligently seek Him.” The only way to know Him is to open our hearts to Him, even when we are sinners and fools because He knows us already. This is more real than anything, and God is so wise to have purposed it so.