Three Ideas from the author.
1. God wants to bless me. He gets a kick out of making me happy. He feels even greater delight in blessing me than I do when I give my kid a gift. At every moment in every circumstance, He is doing me good. It gives Him to much pleasure to do otherwise. He is not waiting to bless me when my troubles end, He is blessing me right now, in and through those troubles. Right now, at this exact moment, He is giving me what He thinks is best.
What is my response to this statement?
Instinctively I know this is true. At the heart level, I believe this. At the mind level, I struggle. How can my pain, my uncertainty, my disappointment be good for me? How can this present struggle bring any pleasure or glory to Him? I want to cry out and demand answers. Why God? I want to see the big picture. I want to know not only the end result....Heaven...but also all the intermediate steps to get there. And not only the steps to get there but when they will happen. I am not willing to trust as a child.
My kid asks all kinds of questions. Some are easy to answer. Some are not so easy without her having a grasp of more adult ideas and themes. So those we do the best we can and tell her when she is older she will understand. Sometimes she presses but most of the time, she shrugs her shoulders and accepts the idea that all will be revealed when she is 13.....little does she know that is when the real questions really begin.
Perhaps I should be more like her. Just trust.
More from the author:
2. The deepest pleasure I am capable of experiencing is a direct encounter with God. The highest dream I could dream, the wish that if granted would make me happier than any other blessing is to know God, to actually experience Him.
Really? I like so many things. Do I doubt this? Do I want more than anything to experience God in the most intimate way possible? Scripture speaks of Him as a friend that is closer than a brother. I can understand this. It speaks of Him as Father, or as Romans says, Daddy, Daddy.....or my version....Papa.....I can understand this as well.....BUT scripture speaks of Him as the bridegroom and me as the bride. This is where my understanding breaks down. This picture is one of naked intimacy. If you will allow me to go this far, it even speaks of sexual union. Now I am really confused. I understand this from a human perspective of course, but that level of intimacy with God.....how does that happen?
You see, I know my earthly father and have a great relationship with him. Same with my brothers. My best friend and I enjoy a level of knowing that is remarkable.......but I experience my wife in a way none of them can compete with. How is this possible with God.....aka...Father, Friend, Redeemer? I confess, this level of intimacy escapes me. I have no idea how to experience this kind of love with my Savior.
For this I mourn. I mourn because it is His desire and I have no idea how to be a participant in this joint experience.
The author again:
3. The problem is I don't believe this idea, (that encountering Go is my deepest pleasure). I do with my mind, but my heart remains unconvinced. So the Holy Spirit awakens that appetite. He uses the pain of shattered dreams to help me to discover my desire for Him. To begin dreaming the highest dream. My shattered dreams are never random. They are always a part of a larger puzzle. A chapter in a larger love story.
I'm not sure I approve of this method of getting my attention. Of drawing me to Him. If I was courting a woman, I would not use a method that caused pain to get her attention. Roses, music, chocolate, diamonds....yes.....pain.....I think we all know what happens next......the girl moves on to the one with the gifts and sweet words of romance.He speaks words of romance but they are accompanied by circumstances of intense pain sometimes. Do I believe the words or the circumstances?
Am I to accept the fact that my pain, disappointment & unmet expectations are supposed to drive me closer to God? How does that play out in human events. Pain separates. His ways are not my ways. My wife asked me the other day about the Scripture that says if I being evil know how to give good gifts to my kid, how much more does my heavenly Father give good gifts to me. Frankly, I had no answer for that. His ways are not my ways.
I've been a Christian long enough to know the intellectual answers to these questions. I hate that. All my life I've known the answers. But the answers have never made sense to me. I want to experience the Answer, not just know the correct thing to say.
Papa, my prayer today. I want to know you in the most intimate way possible. I have no idea how to approach you in this regard. I know how to ask for things. I know how to bring others to you for prayer. I have a transactional relationship with you. That is easy. You do for me and I do for you. I am sick to death of this transactional relationship. Instead, I want a relationship that has at its core, the idea of naked intimacy. Where you know me better than I know myself and I understand how much you know about me and I am in stunned awe that you still love me beyond all reason. And where I know you better than I know even those closest to me and that you delight in my knowledge of you. This is my deepest desire.