|Photo by Melissa Haas|
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
My greatest need is to know God and be known by Him.
We were created from the very beginning for relationship. God put within us a desire to know and be known, and the goal of our relationship with Him is to grow in intimate connection with Him.
Sometimes, however, we get knowing God confused with knowing about Him. As believers, we have learned all kinds of things about God—His character and His expectations. Much of what we have learned about God has stayed in our minds, though, and never made it to the part of our heart from which life comes.
Too often when we open our Bibles or sit down to pray or enter His house to worship, it’s all about us. He scarcely has time to say, “Hello, friend!” before we are asking Him for something or trying to find an answer to one of our problems. The reality of our relationship with Him right now may be that we don’t see Him as a friend. We see Him as a rich benefactor or as a parent or as our counselor or physician. Truly these are all aspects of who He is, but we don’t truly know Him. We are only in relationship with Him because of the things He gives us, and we’re not really interested in His heart, His needs, His desires, His feelings, and His life.
We must move beyond the place where we only see God as a provider and disciplinarian. He longs for us to know Him. He wants us to be intimately acquainted with Him. He also wants to know us.
But wait a minute, Melissa. God already knows me. He created me. He has numbered the hairs of my head. He knows when I come and go. He even knows my thoughts. How can I make myself any more known to Him than that?
You’re right. He already knows everything about you, but He delights in you relating to Him.
Think about it this way. Your daughter is very involved in gymnastics, and she’s good—really good. You know she has a big meet this weekend, and you see how excited and anxious she is about it. The day of the meet, you sit together with her at the breakfast table, eating pancakes together. Your daughter has a grin on her face and a look of focused concentration. You know that in her mind she is thinking about her routines and how she will dismount with a stepless, solid landing. You venture a question, “What are you thinking about, Sweetie?”
“Oh, just stuff,” she replies. “Got to go, Mom. I’ve got a busy day ahead of me. Love you.”
As she leaves the table, you can’t help but feel rejected. She didn’t invite you to the meet. She didn’t even tell you about it. Thinking she must just be distracted, you resolve to be at the meet and watch your daughter perform her best gymnastic routines of the year, and you’re there on the front row of the bleachers when she misses her first vault. You’re there when she makes a near perfect score on the floor exercise, and you’re there when she almost falls off the balance beam. You see the emotions etched in her face and can almost feel her desperation when she gets up to do her exercise on the uneven bars. She mounts the bars. Your thoughts echo hers—keep moving, don’t miss the bar, get ready for the dismount, tuck, wait, wait, extend! She lands with both feet firmly planted, back arched beautifully, a beaming smile on her face. Jumping up, you clap and whistle and shout praises in her direction, but she never looks your way. She’s hugging her coach and the other players on her team and walking towards the awards stand where she will claim the gold medal as the overall winner of the meet. She acts like she doesn’t even know you are there.
Disappointed and saddened, you leave the stands and head home. You wanted to share in her happiness, but she was totally unaware of your supporting presence or your desire to be a part of her life. “Maybe tonight,” you think, “she’ll tell me about the meet.”
That evening, sitting at the supper table, your daughter is smiling from ear to ear and off somewhere far away in her thoughts. You ask, “How was your day, Sweetheart?”
“It was great, Mom! And you know, I’m so glad you let me take gymnastics. You’re a great mom, you know that?”
“Thanks, sweetie, and I’m proud of you.”
“Well, I think I’ll hit the sack, Mom. I’m beat. Good-night. I love you.”
Off she goes, still never sharing anything about her day or her heart with you.
Does this sound like a crazy scenario? How many times have you ended the day, never sharing anything more of yourself with the Father than maybe a quick prayer of gratitude and love?
He wants to know you. He wants you to tell Him about your feelings and your thoughts. He wants to be involved in your life. Yes, He sees and knows, but He wants to participate. Give Him that chance.
Melissa Haas currently serves as the Director of Restoration Groups for HopeQuest, a ministry group in Woodstock, Georgia, which helps people struggling with life-dominating issues. Melissa began her service in ministry in 1993 as an international missionary to Kenya, East Africa, where she and her husband Troy worked as church planters among the Turkana people. When a significant marital crisis ended their missionary service, Melissa and Troy began a journey of healing and restoration that now serves as the foundation of their ministry to others. Passionate about spiritual community, healthy marriages, and intimacy with God, Melissa regularly facilitates small groups and teaches and speaks on these topics in order to help the Body of Christ grow relationally with God and each other. Melissa and Troy and their three children reside in Woodstock, Georgia.