In the last blog entry, I told you we would spend some time talking about Grandma Clara... who happens to be the grandmother of Chan's wife. Here's what he said about her:
"I spoke recently at Grandma Clara's funeral, and I could honestly tell the mourners gathered that I had never known anyone more excited to see Jesus. Every morning Clara would kneel by her bed and spend precious hours with her Savior and Lover; later in the day, just the sight of that corner of her bed would bring joy-filled tears and a deep anticipation of the next morning spent kneeling in His presence." p. 100.
Today, I want us to really focus on what Chan says next: "Grandma Clara acted toward God the way we act toward people we're madly in love with. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You'll drive for hours to be together, even if it's only for a short while. You don't mind staying up to talk." p. 100.
So... here's the problem I have with this... I think that almost everyone can remember experiencing this type of "love"... but we also can testify that this "love," or at least this phase of love, doesn't last. That's not to say that it isn't completely possible for this type of love to not only exist, but endure with Christ... not to take Phil 4:13 out of context, but "All things are possible through Him." However, I think that placing this notion in our heads leads us to a preconceived idea that loving Jesus in such a way is unrealistic... at least long term. Again, let me stress that I'm NOT saying that it's unrealistic... but drawing from our own personal experiences makes it extremely difficult to believe. I've come to the realization that so much of my understanding (or maybe I should say "misunderstanding" of Jesus) comes from wrongly applying my perceptions gained in this world to Him!
While I definitely think Grandma Clara's love for Christ is incredible and something to strive for, a few months ago, I would have just settled for God to help me make Him the primary focus of my life... the one I go to... first and foremost... everyday. For me, that journey started with a conversation with someone very dear to me that I know goes to God on a daily basis and CONSTANTLY talks about how much he loves God and Jesus... my 6-year-old son. It should be said that there is an anointing on this child that I can't explain... neither can his father. He incessantly talks about God: how much he loves Him, how much he likes talking to Him. He's always making up songs about God. It's not uncommon to walk by my son's room and find him kneeling by his window... praying or staring at "God's stars." So, when I asked my little boy "Why" he loves God so much, this was his answer: Because He loves me so much.
Really? That was it? At first I was a little confused... I felt as if my son had momentarily become Confucius. It seemed a little too philosophical for me... or maybe it was just a little too simple... I mean, it was coming from a 6-year-old! But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense... even in Grandma Clara's scenario. If you can go back in your mind to a time when you experienced that completely consuming phase of love (the late night talks and never-ending conversations), I think we'd all admit that one of the reasons that time seemed so amazing was because someone wanted to be with us... as much as we wanted to be with them. It's a new experience, a new person that we have so much to learn about, so much with whom to share. But, in the case of human relationships, the novelty wears off... life gets in the way. However, with God, that's not the case... at least, not on God's end. There is no novelty where we're concerned. Life doesn't get in the way. He would stay up late every night talking with us.
But I've never seen God from that perspective. I've always thought that He was too busy for me... that He has way more important things to deal with than hearing about my day. Even as I sit here now and type, I'm realizing, for the first time, that I've never really thought of myself as worthy of such admiration from Him... I mean, I HAVE made a lot of mistakes. I can't really put my best foot forward, or paint a pretty picture of myself with Him... like so many of us do when we first meet someone. Maybe it's out of my own shame that I've placed this mental block on even trying to understanding God's capacity to love me.
A few months ago, I just started with baby steps: making Him my primary focus... even if it was for a short period of time. Some days I even had to lock myself in my room. But, after some time, I actually found myself looking forward to that quiet time. I'm definitely nowhere close to where Grandma Clara was... but, at least, I'm beginning to understand how a love like hers is actually possible.
Try to remember back to those first days of a new love... the endless conversations you had. Spend some time trying to have one of those conversations with God... even if it's for 5 minutes... just try to find the enthusiasm... even if it's for 2 minutes. It's a starting point. Remember: Rome wasn't built in a day.