Any relationship requires give and take, support, patience, acceptance, communication, appreciation, trust and most of all, love. Since it is the season of Easter, let’s focus on our relationship with God. What is your relationship with God like? It should be a two-way street.
I confess that at times my relationship with God might be one sided. I know that on occasion I’ve begged and pleaded for a particular outcome to requests I’ve made via prayer. I have asked for things that I hoped I would get. On occasion I have even bargained with God; if only You would do this or that, then I would do this or that. That’s give and take, right? But then on the other side, maybe God has had a hand in bringing about an outcome that I am completely oblivious to until it happens. When that light bulb reaction occurs, I wonder if God has had the guiding hand in the relationship. I shouldn’t wonder, He does. I can beg, plead, bargain and hope for what I believe I want and God determines if it is what I should have. He may agree with my plan or go in another direction. Man proposes God disposes. We should know that by now. He is the Father after all. Father knows best. That doesn’t mean that your relationship with God shouldn’t be a two way street.
Easter is a good time to reevaluate your relationship with God. Each year we are reminded that we have been given a HUGE gift in his son, Jesus Christ, that allows us to make mistakes, push the boundaries, even sin. Being perfectly good all the time is exhausting for some while others may crave the rigid rules and boundaries. I’m not advocating that you let loose and hit the anything goes button. Let’s be clear that being bad, really bad, and doing really, really bad things is not acceptable, even if forgiveness is guaranteed. But telling a little white lie or contemplating and acting on some other minor slip from the good side does tend to get the juices flowing, the heart palpitating, and the sweat forming. Kind of like exercising, but a little more devious.
Whatever kind of relationship you have with God, you will be covered for anything you do, good or bad. But do not expect a reward for being good or anything but feeling guilt or worse, punishment, for being bad. Still, it is a relationship that should not be a one-way street. Any relationship is more fulfilling, fruitful, richer and just better when both parties are completely engaged. God is there to guide us, nurture us, pick us up when we fall and most of all forgive us. But we are expected to contribute to this relationship too. Have you thanked God lately with all your heart? Have you shown kindness and care to others in the name of God? Have you loved your neighbor as yourself? Have you been grateful that you need never feel forsaken and that all the blessings you receive come from God? Have you taken the time to nurture your faith in God and be faithful to the Holy Spirit? Have you simply shown love to the One?
Just remember that for any relationship to work you have to be intentional in your communication, support, faith trust and love. With God especially, you really need to find a way to include Him in your daily life, intentionally through prayer or some other personal connection by appreciating everything that surrounds you. Trust that God will be with you as long as you open your heart and mind to His presence. The most important thing to remember in a relationship with God is that God loves you. It’s unwavering. Think about what you value most in a relationship and know that your relationship with God has that and so much more. Be all in.
Joan Shisler, Senior Warden