“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit or stand. When far away you know my every thought. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say before I even say it. You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.
This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe! I can never be lost to your Spirit! I can never get away from my God! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, your strength will support me. If I try to hide in the darkness, the night becomes light around me. For even darkness cannot hide from God; to you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.” Psalm 139:1-12
We have no secrets from the Lord, our efforts to conceal anything from God are in vain. It is impossible for God to not know who we are and what is in our heart, for God is part of us. When we invite God into our life, He shares our deepest secrets and darkest burdens. He loves us not only for the person we are meant to be, but for the person we are. He sees our wounds, and His love soothes them. He sees our sins, and His forgiveness un-empowers them.
Understanding that God loves us for who we are is basic to our relationship with God. Appreciating that God loves us no matter what we have done is a difficult concept to grasp, but it’s at the core of a meaningful relationship with Him. Believing that God’s Son, Jesus, died for our sins is fundamental to our understanding of God, for only then can we begin to comprehend the love God has for us, to love ourselves for who we are, and to love others, as we are meant to love them.
God’s love and mercy is a gift, but it should not be taken for granted. God seeks our love in return. God asks us to forgive others, as He forgives us. Our relationship with God is intended to be interactive – not passive. God offers us a relationship with Him. But just as we must give of ourselves for human relationships to be meaningful, so must we give of ourselves to God for our relationship with God to be as He intends it to be.
I feel closest to God when I speak to Him through prayer, when I listen to Him by reading the Bible, and when I seek Him by talking and listening to others about God. When I surrender to Him, when I place His will above my own, I am at my strongest. By contrast, I feel distance from God and weakest when I get distracted by worldly things or forget that God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus are my life partners in all matters – whether seemingly important or seemingly insignificant. When I choose to surrender my will to His, it is easier to love and focus on the beauty and goodness in others and the world around me. When I trust Him to guide and protect me, I have the courage to accomplish more than what I knew to be possible. When I thank Him, I appreciate what I have been given.
My deepest desires are for God to guide me and to do what God intends for me to do. Christ taught that this occurs when we “… love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important commandment is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all others.” Matthew 22:37-40
I know I will not always succeed in following God’s will because I am only human, but I also know that with God’s grace and guidance, I can become a better person — not perfect, but the person God wants me to be.