A friend of mine preached a good sermon recently and challenged us with this question, “Am I spending time with God because I know he loves me? Or so that he will love me?” It’s a huge question. One that I continue to ask myself as I go through this strange “quiet time” purge.
I’m afraid I must admit that for years I spent time with God so that he would love me. I set aside time in the morning with my Bible and my prayer checklist. I operated under the vague assumption that if I did my part, God would do his. If I prayed for the people I loved, he would take care of them. If I didn’t, well… who knows what would happen??
Thankfully God blew up this contractual relationship I created and is nudging me toward something new. Back in January, I chose a word for the year like a lot of us do. A word that summed up what I sensed God wanted to do in my life in 2015. My word for this year is HOLD. I sensed that God wanted me to know that it is JESUS who hold everything together, not me (Colossians 1.17).
As the long winter of 2015 is unfolding into a beautiful spring, I am clinging to the truth of this word. The first 3 months of this year brought about a major change for our family. My husband has taken a new job with a new church in a new city in a new state. (Lots of “new” i.e. change.) I feel like our family is fragile, fresh from a new adoption with our kids in pivotal years. Move??? That was not on my agenda for 2015 at all. In fact, I didn’t want to contemplate any more change for a long time. I just wanted time to rest, heal, root, and recover.
And now we are pulling up our roots and they are bare and exposed and flailing all over the place. I desperately want to shove them back in the ground, keep things the same, hold the line. We can’t handle all this change right now, I think. Everything I’ve been trying to hold together will fall apart.
And then God brings my word for the year back to mind. HOLD.
He reminds me, I am the one holding everything together. Not you.
It’s kind of like those “quiet times.” It’s not about me doing my part and God doing his. It’s about him, period. It’s about him holding everything together, period. Even when everything is pulled up and scattered and out of control. Especially then. In him all things hold together.
When I realize that Jesus, in his magnificent grace, holds me together for no other reason than he loves me, it makes me want to love him back. When I rest in his hold, I don’t feel like I need to “do my part.” I just feel like being with him. Resting in him.
Rather than spending time with God so that he will love me, I am beginning to want to spend time with God because I know he loves me.
And those roots? Well, maybe they’re not as exposed as I imagine. Rather than digging deep into a place (my house, my church, my friends, my life here), maybe my roots need to dig deep into Jesus. He is the only thing that won’t change for us this year. He is where we get the nourishment we need.
He HOLDS everything together, I remind myself. Roots and all.
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