When I first started walking with God, I prayed and things happened. I asked Him for things and they were there. I must be the greatest Christian ever! I thought. It was so encouraging to feel like God was so near.
When I read Godâ€™s Word and I didnâ€™t understand, I asked Him to help me. Sure enough, through a sermon or at a Bible study the next week, He helped me understand in response to my expression of desiring to know Him more.
A growing relationship with God is a lot like growing up. As a baby, you have all your needs met immediately. Nobody tells you to be patient. You cry and someone comes to comfort you. You fall and someone helps you up. Your daily bread (or milk) comes often and regularly, and you don’t have to do anything for it.
But eventually we all grow up, leave the milk behindÂ and start feeding ourselves. We need patience, because we learn that the world doesnâ€™t revolve around us… dang! We may even begin to dare I say it…work for our food. Sadly, the packed lunches with a bag of chips and a love note on the napkin come to an end. Yes, I had an especially wonderful Mom who packed my lunch from kindergarten through my senior year in high school and sometimes wrote a note to tell me she loved me on my napkin!
Perhaps through chores or a part-time job, we begin to make a contribution to our own sustenance in one way or another. Eventually, it is more and more up to us to make sure thereâ€™s food on the table. (Our daily bread is a provision of God, but we are still required to work for that provision in one way or another.)
It’s a lot like our walk with God. Patience is a necessity. I pray for things now, just as I did ten years ago, and they donâ€™t always magically appear. By patience, possess your souls. I might have to wait six weeks, six months, six years…and sometimes it might not happen the way I hoped it would.
Does God love me less than He did a decade ago? No. As a matter of fact, He trusts me more. He trusts that I am able to handle the waiting. I wonâ€™t faint, I wonâ€™t pass out when the thing Iâ€™m longing for is not immediately presented.Â The patience teaches me perseverance, and when the longing is fulfilled, it is so much more precious and meaningful than it would have been had I prayed and received it instantly. The Lord also knows that Iâ€™ve grown up in the generation of those who pace in front of the microwave, and it is very good indeed for me to learn patience.
It’s similar when it comes to learning Godâ€™s Word: I shouldn’t expect a Sunday sermon to answer every question I’ve come up with during the week. It sure would be a long and discombobulated message! We need to learn to go after God — to seek wisdom and look for understanding the way you might look for a treasure if you knew you could find it.Â Having a study Bible helps. Having resources like Matthew Henryâ€™s Commentary (a personal fave) and Spurgeonâ€™s Treasury of David online are also incredible resources for gaining understanding of the Word, the ways and the will of God.
If you have the ability to read, you have teeth. And if you have the Bible, and clearly you have the internet or else you couldnâ€™t read this, you have meat..and hearty condiments to help you enjoy the meat! Donâ€™t settle for the milk of a sermon once a week. Donâ€™t settle for letting someone else tell you the Word, the ways and the will of God. Sink your teeth into the steak, the lamb chops, the glorious bacon cheeseburgers of a personal relationship with the Living God. Let Him tell you who He is. Let Him feed you in green pastures by still waters. And ask for His help, if you find youâ€™re not hungry. If you knew how good it is, you would be!
An end note: I’d like to start digging deeper around here, together. I have some ideas a-stewin’ and a-brewin’ about how this space might allow us to encourage each other deeper in God. If you think you might like to write a guest post about going deeper, please let me know!