En route to Gabicce Mare for Mount Horeb, an annual conference of my Christian denomination, I was lost in thoughts, reflecting on my relationship with God. “How much quality time did I really spend with Him as my Father, my friend and my lover?” I mused.
I thought of how busy I’ve been during the year, most times doing things for others. It’s not bad to serve others, but when it deprives you of quality time with your Maker, there’s a need for an adjustment. Because you may get to a point where you give so much to others that you are left empty. And because you don’t have time to refill (you don’t spend quality time with God) it’ll in the long run affect the quality of service you render to others.
I began to ruminate on Genesis 2:7-15, together with chapter 3:8. I saw God giving a model of what relationship He intended to have with man from the beginning. I saw a God who doesn’t want much but wants all of the parts due to him; a God who made man somewhat independent, with his own will and a job to do, but desires that at the cool of the day man should cease from his works and dedicate his entire time to commune with his Maker.
I saw a God who craves obedience, respect and humility just as a spouse would from his partner. He knew the tempter would soon come and hoped Adam would not only be content with all the other trees but would also trust and respect Him not to listen to satan.
God doesn’t want our 24 hrs in the Church, else he wouldn’t have created a garden for Adam to tend and keep; just like a husband wouldn’t want his wife to be physically attached to him 24 hrs of the day. She can go about her normal garden business but with an inner knowing that she’s married to a loving man who deserves her all even when he’s physically absent.
God has always intended our relationship with him as such, and the Holy Book is replete with passages where God cried concerning the unfaithfulness of his wife Israel. He truly and deeply loves us, and even when we fell into disobedience, He quickly made a provision to restore us. We were unfaithful and went to sleep with the serpent (satan) but because of His infinite love, He had to send Jesus to pay for our sins. What love!
Also, because he is God, he cannot love in part. His love is complete, 100 per cent. He’s not a man that places conditions on who and how much to love. His love instead is everlasting, far-reaching and overwhelming. He loved when I was in sin, he still loves when I fall after repentance, and despite how angry he gets because of the pains I cause him, the moment I sincerely return, he automatically forgives and withdraws the bill of divorcement.
Sometimes, I feel that satan has really deceived us with the teaching of hell and heaven. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place of punishment and there’s a place of eternal rejoicing as taught and promised by our Lord and Saviour Jesus. But I feel that if God created us just to be with him in heaven, he would have lost. His aim would have been defeated.
He could have simply multiplied angels to worship him eternally without the stress of creating the world and then man to care for the world, seeing the disaster man has caused. He created us because he wanted someone to confide his eternal secrets with. He wanted someone to share his deepest thoughts with. He wanted to abide in us and we in him. He wanted a friend. He wanted a beloved son. He wanted a companion. No wonder God reveals himself in an unprecedented manner in any person who wholeheartedly loves and reverentially fears him.
But Satan has craftily infused our minds with only the fear of hell. We fear going to hell more than we desire to please our lover (God). We’re jittery whenever we hear a Pastor describe hell, but we aren’t remorseful when we hear of the indescribable love of our maker. We get afraid when someone shares a revelation of how we missed the rapture, but we can’t weep when we read of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
It even gets to a point where we are so saturated with revelations of hell that there’s no reaction to it again – “after all we’ve heard them severally.”
And one thing about behavioural adjustments born out of fear is that they only last as long as the stimulus is strong and sustained. Else, once we exit the Church gate, worldly signals peak, the fear of going to hell plummets and we’re back to being sinners again. What a doomed race we are! A race (human) that must be flogged, scolded and terrorised with hellfire before her attention can be gotten. Who feels the pain of God?!
A loving father, with good intentions, abandoned, forsaken, despised and ridiculed! There’s no reverential fear for him, just the fear of hellfire. Had we been taught from the beginning that God desires an intimate relationship, maybe we would have been more serious with him.
Had we been told that he simply wants to know how we’re doing, how our day went, what we plan to do and how we’re taking care of what he handed over to us, maybe we wouldn’t have left him for satan.
Had we been taught that God never intended to send man to hell, maybe we would have understood his infinite love and not hated him.
Had we been told how much he desires our company, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t have made social media our new god – waking up to our phones because we must catch up with the latest posts on Facebook, view the recent status on WhatsApp, peruse the latest junk news, check the latest trends on Twitter and Instagram.
Had we been taught that we are simply caretakers of God’s garden, maybe we wouldn’t be sleeping and waking up only with the thoughts of how much money to make and how many cars and houses to buy and build.
Had we been told that he genuinely guides, maybe we would simply have told him everything without fear of him changing our plans. Yeah, maybe we would… be more relaxed and open to him.
Had we been taught he cares, maybe we would have stopped going to Egypt for help and simply relied on his infinite riches in glory.
Had we been told he’s our spouse, maybe…we could have made time to chat him up in praises, prayers and studying of his Word, instead of complaining about how busy our schedules are. But we were just taught hell and heaven, and now we are either afraid to go to hell or simply desire to go to heaven. And God’s aim for making man would have been defeated.
In his book ‘The Divine Conquest’, A.W. Tozer wrote: “May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the kingdom like children through the marketplace, chattering about everything but pausing to learn the true value of nothing.
In my creature impatience, I am often caused to wish that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short easy lessons. But such wishes are vain, no shortcut exists. God has not bowed to our nervous haste, nor embraced the methods of our machine age. It is well that we accept the hard truth now. The man who would know God must give time to him”.
Let’s pray: Dear Lord, I’m deeply sorry for how I treated you in the past years. With tears in my eyes and pain in my heart, I wish I took you seriously from the first day you made me. I didn’t know you loved me this much and desired a relationship with me. Please forgive me for the hurt I caused you.
Today, let’s begin afresh. I promise to always love you and be faithful to you. Make your abode in my life, and may we never be separated again. I promise to commune with you daily through your Word, in prayers and praises. Guide my feet that I slip not. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Now, open your Bible and read. You can start from the gospel of John or Genesis or Psalms.
May God guide us in Jesus Name. Amen.