Friday, July 20, 2012

It Isn't About Jealousy

Have you ever had someone push their friendship on you?  Maybe you have felt before what it was like to want a friendship more than the person you had a desire to be friends with? You call them and they are always in a hurry to end the conversation.  You find over time that you are always the first to initiate any contact. You feel the more you try to be their friend, the more they push away or distance themselves.  You might hope to share an idea with them, might see how fun it would be to work on a project together that you both have interest in, but it's always, "Someday, sure."

Maybe you want to help that friend?  Maybe you have found some answers to problems they are facing and try to offer advice or guidance, but you can never get to the heart of the matter because they take your words lightly and you feel how fruitless it would be to go further.

Maybe they let you step in when there are times of great need, when their life is in crisis, but in the little daily interactions, you don't feel welcome or wanted. You just hope someday the help you give in a crisis will open the door to a deeper bond.

How does it feel to be in this situation?  Do you usually relent and give up, or at best, you wait in the "background" of life, your hand "stretched out" ready whenever they have a desire to come to you?  Do you learn to let them lead? Do you decide to let them choose how deep or shallow your influence or your relationship with them will be? 

I believe this is how God feels.  He wants to help us; wants to be close to our thoughts; to have influence on our life; to work with us on a common goal. Yet, we place other things before Him.

Relationships boil down to time spent 
and we make very little for Him. 

I believe the commandment against idolatry is not about God being jealous. I have come to believe it is rooted in the principle that, ". . . if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them."  I think God would say to us, "I can't help you because you've placed your time and trust in things less powerful than me. You've reduced my power over your life." God won't push himself on us.  He waits for us.  He values our agency too much.

Where this comparison breaks down is that God isn't like other friends.  No matter how good, they will never know us like He knows us.  No other can feel not only sympathy, but real empathy for our sorrows, trials and pains; for the consequences of our mistakes - none like Him.  The more we trust God has the power to deliver us, the more we believe he is omnipotent - all powerful - the more we will find there is nothing he cannot deliver us from.

Yet, with our finite minds we think we know the best way to be delivered.  With our limited vision we always want to reach the destination that we can see.  God, though, sees beyond the horizon. He knows what form the best deliverance must take.  Will we trust Him?

When he asks us to endure longer, do we believe His timing is in our favor?  If he asks us to drop our "pack of supplies and run," will we trust that He will provide a better and more sufficient sustenance ahead?

We will . . . only if there is a relationship.  I've found it begins by giving God the benefit of the doubt.  It begins by believing he has joy for us as his goal.  As I do that, I grow to see the evidences that prove that belief true.  Just as with a friend, unless you already know and believe what you've been told about them by others, you won't believe they are worthy of your trust without first giving them ample time and opportunity to "show you their colors." The more time you give, the deeper the trust, the greater the influence and power to change your life.

I guess it all boils down to one thing: Time 

Will we give God ours?


  1. Thanks for sharing, Kate! I couldn't agree more, nor have said it better. Miss you... hope all your preparations for mom's retreat are going well...

  2. Wow, I love this and agree completely! Thank you for sharing.