Original Print Date: October 2007
God and I talk a lot. That doesn’t mean that I always do as I’m supposed to, or that I even listen sometimes, but we are at least talking. And for me anyway, that’s important.
I was sitting beside the lake not too long ago, and was lying on the dock in the dead of the night looking at the stars. And lemme tell ya, if you wanna feel real small and be reminded of the awesome power of God, do some stargazing. To even attempt to grasp the enormity of the heavens, and the power necessary to create them is mind-boggling. So I’m lying there, completely lost in my mind’s meandering thoughts, when God talked to me. No, a booming voice didn’t reverberate from heaven causing me to shake like a leaf, but rather, a most calming and soothing Voice of God descended upon me. And so for the next 30 minutes or so, God and I had a little talk about my life. We took “inventory”, if you will.
As I said, these discussions with God are important to me. I run around in this hectic world, just like all of you, and sometimes have a hard time finding the space in my life for much of anything. From kids’ activities, to social calls, to business…I am in a constant state of motion. And as I run through these mundane events, I can find myself drifting from God at times. I was driving past a church the other day and had to smile at the billboard out front:
“If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved.”
I love those billboards. Where do churches find all these pearls of wisdom anyway? Cause they ARE wise, ya know? And so that’s what God and I talked about. He sat me down and in the way that only God the Father can do, He told me that I’ve been a little distant lately, and He was none too happy about it.
I’ve got lots of excuses. I’m busy, there hasn’t been any time for prayer and church, I haven’t felt well the past few weekends, it’s raining, the grass needs mowing, etc…I’ve got excuses to fill a book. And you can probably imagine how God feels about excuses.
So God and I talked about some of the issues that have created a “distance” between us and what to do about them. And as we talked, I thought of the parable in Luke about the shepherd and the lost sheep:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulder and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:4-7
And then I just felt even smaller than I did when contemplating the creation of the heavens. God, with the power to wave His hand and scatter an untold number of stars throughout my night sky, and with an entire planet’s worth of people with far worse problems than my own, has taken the time to worry Himself with me. He sees me as His lost sheep, and seeks to find me. So while God didn’t come down to my pier, dangle His toes in the water, and put His arm around me, in a way He did. To sit there, beneath His heavenly sky, and feel His presence, is beyond humbling.
In the end, we had a good talk. I sometimes become distracted about what’s important in this life, and those pursuits are what get in my way on my own spiritual walk. I forget what the “goal” of this life is, and that it’s not about earthly possessions or desires. It’s about a desire to walk in the footsteps of God, and to live a life based on His teachings. It’s about praying to God, and finding the time to crawl up onto His lap and cry on His shoulder. It’s about knowing that the only thing to separate you from God is sin. So if you’re feeling distant from Him, it’s pretty easy to find the reason.
I urge every one of you to take a minute today, or tonight, or whenever, to close your eyes and “talk” to God. You can do it in the car, or even when you get 5 quiet minutes at work. But find that relationship with God, which you may not have had in a while, and lay your problems at His feet. No matter how big your sins are, or how overwhelming your problems might seem, I would imagine that if you had the power to toss stars around the sky like a handful of sand as God can, your problems won’t seem too big.
One final thought: God and I have one thing in common – we’re both fathers. And so as I read this verse about prayer and finding your relationship with God, it reminded me of something I’ve done for my kids countless times in their lives, and that’s to pick them up, kiss a boo-boo, and send them on their way again. So remember that your relationship with God is what will sustain you when life gives you “boo-boos” and makes you want to sit on the ground and cry.
”I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
The following article was the 1st one that I ever put together for EXPLORE, which was also the first ever issue printed, hence the black and white layout as it was initially produced on newsprint. I sat on a dock and had no idea what I was doing, but I just started “talking”. It’s not the deepest column, nor is it the best written, but for me it was the initial step in a 10 year long journey that does a good job of reflecting where I was in that particular moment. There have been a lot of memories created since then, and I hope to create many more. Thanks for reading, thanks for the countless emails I’ve gotten, and thanks for the many, many words of encouragement.
– Kendall D. Aaron